“Just what’s that pipsqueak doing!?”
Sazane also watched Frau jumping off Dra-kun from her evil dragon. The first thought hitting Sazane when watching the tiny girl freely falling towards the ground with her apron dress fluttering, was something completely inappropriate: What the hell is she thinking by willingly attempting to kill herself?
However, that thought only occupied her mind for an instant. Sazane immediately remembered that the tiny girl, which had been introduced to her as silky in the information she was given in advance, possessed tremendous powers, contrary to her appearance. Accordingly, she hurled an order at the demons under her control.
“Shoot that girl down!”
The evil dragons, which had gotten ready to attack the city, lifted their heads after being instructed by the demons on their backs, and fixed their aim on the falling Frau. As she didn’t possess wings unlike dragons, Frau was simply falling down in a straight line. In the eyes of the evil dragons, it was trifling to target her even if her small size made it a bit harder than usual.
Frau’s body with its childish appearance looked tiny and frail, causing the evil dragons to believe that she’d turn into ash in no time if she got hit by just a single dragon breath.
But, the order passed on to the dragons was to hit the girl with focused firepower. Although they felt quite reluctant to do so, the demons on their backs were subordinates of His Majesty the Demon King whom the evil dragons couldn’t defy. As they were unable to act contrary to his intent, the evil dragons opened their jaws just as ordered, and filled their mouths with power.
At the same time as Sazane screamed out that order, the evil dragons released their breaths at Frau. Frau, who would be unable to evade as she was simply falling while more than ten flame pillars approached her, sent a fraction of her power against the dragon breaths without a hint of panic.
The space behind Frau split open. Countless black arms crawled out of what could only be described as a dark tear. The arms, which clawed their fingers at empty air while slowly swaying back and forth as if searching for something, overflowed from the tear like a flood at the same time as Frau pointed her finger.
“What are those things!?” Sazane screamed.
At the end of her line of sight, the evil dragons’ breaths and the flood of arms spawning from behind Frau crashed into each other. Several arms were burned to cinders by the fire breaths and vanished as if melting into the atmosphere, but in front of the sheer amount of arms, the breaths lost their force, and vanished as if being washed away.
Sazane was on the verge of instinctively falling into a stupor due to the overly abnormal spectacle of a mass of darkness raining down from the sky, but quickly realized that she was in no situation to act like a retard.
Even though there existed exceptions, most dragon breaths were only fired in straight lines. And, as might be natural, the destination of the darkness that drowned out the breaths were the dragons who had spat them out in the first place. Or in short, the location of Sazane and her men.
“All hands, evade!”
After ordering her own dragon to dodge first, Sazane ordered the other demons to do the same. Fortunately for Sazane’s group, the speed of Frau’s black arms wasn’t overly high, seemingly making it possible for the dragons to dodge with ease by using their flight speed. And as a matter of fact, Sazane’s dragon quickly evaded the approaching arms despite Sazane’s decision having been quite late.
However, unfortunately for them, one dragon couldn’t escape the flood of arms, and got caught by the cluster of darkness alongside the demon riding on its back. The evil dragon screamed at that moment. An evil dragon was a being ranking quite high in this world, and it was said that normal life-forms had to resolve themselves for death if they met one. But such a being screamed, pleading for help.
The demon on its back was under the influence of Sazane’s power, and thus didn’t show any reactions allowing to label him as being alive, but that might have been extremely fortunate for that demon.
Having escaped out of the arms’ reach for the time being, Sazane looked back over her shoulder, and reflexively blocked her mouth with a hand as she felt like puking after witnessing the fate of the evil dragon caught by the black arms.
Its huge body was caught by countless arms, and cornered into a state of being completely immobile. But only that would have still been fine. Small, thin arms grew out of the arms holding onto the evil dragon, and began to strip off its scales. As soon they tore them off, the arms penetrated into the dragon’s body through the exposed, fleshy parts. Using their tiny, slender fingers, the arms began to tightly grasp, rip out, gouge, and steal anything and everything, be it flesh or bones.
All of this looked like the work ants would perform on the corpse of a small animal, but the evil dragon was still breathing. The darkness deliberately encroached its body very slowly so as to not kill the dragon. It was a scene that would make the blood of any spectator run cold.
“The heck are these abominations…?”
But there was no one around who would answer Sazane’s trembling voice.
Eventually body fluids started to ooze out the dragon’s body as the arms continued to strip and tear it, but even those fluids were scooped up, and carried away inside the darkness firmly holding onto the dragon. The demon, who had a far smaller body than the dragon, had been swallowed by the darkness in the blink of an eye, and wasn’t visible anymore.
Sazane’s face became ghastly pale from the scene her mind couldn’t process with its common sense, but the fact that she had managed to dodge the arms allowed her to retain some composure. However, even that remaining calmness was completely robbed from her in the next instant.
“They’re chasing after us!?”
The darkness, which had poured down after having lost its target thanks to them evading, seemed as if it’d continue falling towards Jade’s city. However, just one successful evasion didn’t mean that the darkness was done with the pursuit.
The cluster of black arms, which looked as though it’d simply follow the pull of the gravitation, suddenly changed its direction after having fallen for a bit, and started to chase after the other evil dragons.
If Sazane would have chosen to withdraw from here at this point in time, their fate might have taken another turn. But, the word retreat didn’t exist in Sazane’s mind as she believed that any more blunders would be unforgivable during a pursuit to cover up the previous mistake of having allowed Jade and his people to get away without even being able to attack Jade’s city with her huge army.
The course Sazane picked was to dodge and counterattack. It was based on the fact that the swarm of arms had suffered a certain amount of damage by the initial dragon breaths targeting Frau. The demons under the control of Sazane’s ability didn’t have any alternative, and each of them started to eagerly counterattack with breath attacks while evading the chasing flood of arms, just as ordered.
The black arms were torn off and sent flying in succession by the dragon breaths that ripped through the air, but several times the number of torn arms launched counterattacks, swooping down on the evil dragons.
Once caught, the dragons had no means to escape. Even if they squirmed while mustering all the strength hidden in their huge bodies, the swarm of arms easily immobilized the dragons’ bodies, and the tiny arms finely dissected the bodies in defiance to their toughness.
“Where did that fairy go!?”
Just when five evil dragons had fallen prey to the arms, including the one that was done in at the beginning, Sazane started to search Frau within the swarm of arms, believing that they’d be finished off one-sidedly at this rate. Around that time, the black arms, which appeared to endlessly spill out of the tear that had manifested behind Frau, filled most of the space around the evil dragons, cornering them into a situation where they soon wouldn’t be able to dodge any longer.
They flew around to escape from the arms while concentrating their attacks to burn open an escape route, but it seemed as though it was just a matter of time before they’d become unable to do that as well.
“Look for the fairy! She was the origin, so as long as we kill her…” Sazane snarled while grinding her teeth in vexation.
“You’re too late in noticing that ~no.”
Once Sazane looked in the direction from where she heard the answer, she spotted Frau hovering in the air with the hem of her apron dress flapping in the wind. At first Sazane believed that Frau was using some kind of magic art to fly, but as soon as she strained her eyes, she noticed black arms tightly holding onto Frau’s shoulders. It looked as if Frau was moving through the space buried by arms while being supported by arms.
“Although it’s the standard tactic to take the high ground in an air battle, I think I made a little mistake there ~no.”
Frau chose this means of attacking for the sake of taking an advantageous position by being above the dragons, but then noticed all of a sudden that the after-effects of her own attacks would likely affect the city beneath the dragons as she’d shoot downwards at the dragons from a higher ground. Frau became perplexed, thinking that it’d be better to attack from below then, but she couldn’t do anything about it now.
What she devised as a last resort was the swarm of black arms.
“Fu fu fu…it is fine for you to tremble in fear when faced with this power ~no! No need to worry! After being carefully dissected and processed, these children will devour you with delight ~no!”
Watching Frau gently caressing the black arms squirming around close to her, Sazane glared at her with half-open eyes while experiencing pangs of dread.
“Hey… do you understand that this is anything but a line you’d hear from a fairy!?”
“You may become nourishment for me ~no! Lost from another world ~nano!”
“Just as I thought, you guys are the villains here!” Sazane shouted loudly while thrusting out a finger at Frau. “Most recently there have been many Light Novels with the demon kings actually not being evil, so I was half in doubt when I heard the explanation! But now I’m convinced! That you’re a being that must be defeated!”
“Seriously responding to a joke is pretty uncool ~no.”
“Shut up, scoundrel! I shall punish you here and now in place of His Majesty the Demon King who’s full of grief over the state of this world!”
“…I don’t know what you were told, but you’re slightly pitiful ~nano.”
Pity was literally visible in the eyes of Frau as she looked at Sazane.
“Probably you’re just a Lost-san who ended up believing the convenient lies of their side ~nano.”
“Shut up! If you think that the blessings I received are limited to Temptation, you couldn’t be more wrong!”
A red light lit up at the tip of Sazane’s finger.
Frau’s body was quickly pulled away from Sazane by the arms holding her shoulders as Frau had immediately realized the identity of that light. And as if to protect Frau, a swarm of arms blocked the path between Frau and Sazane.
“Eat this! <Flame Lance>!”
A fire lance, which possessed a brilliance and thickness so strong that it easily surpassed the evil dragons’ breaths, pierced through the swarm of arms protecting Frau. The <Flame Lance> cast by Sazane quickly penetrated the arms whereas the dragons’ breath could merely scrape off the surface of the swarm. The swarm itself scattered after exploding.
“Stay away from me! <Roaring Lightning>!”
The arms, which had tried to sneak up from behind and the sides to grab Sazane, were completely gouged out by mighty pillars of lightning striking down from the sky, and vanished.
Frau lightly clicked her tongue after seeing that.
“You aren’t even a hero, and yet you’re such a pain ~no.”
“We’ve been granted power for the sake of creating a truly peaceful world!” Sazane cockily declared after getting up on the dragon and pressing her hands against her hip even while believing that it might be a waste of time.
“Don’t you think that it’s weird for the demon king to talk about a peaceful world or something like that ~no!? Incidentally, in just what peaceful world would anyone choose to slaughter their own people ~nano? Are you an idiot ~nano?”
“His Majesty said so! This world is already corrupted and cannot be salvaged with normal means! That’s why we will destroy everything once, and then gather all power under His Majesty! We will create a new world with His Majesty’s power! He declared this to be the sole way to build a truly peaceful world!”
“…Uwaah, and you believe all that ~no…? Even Frau would be disgusted by this ~nano.” Frau’s face cramped up as she became flabbergasted, if Renya were present here, he might have been unable to laugh off Sazane’s attitude.
It was quite difficult to immediately identify a lie in a situation where someone, who had no knowledge about the circumstances whatsoever, was fed reasonable information with confidence alongside smooth talk. Much more so if they were approached by the liar under the pretext of them being their only ally in a different world where the person had no relatives. The number of people capable of refusing such flattery was probably quite limited.
But, for Frau, who didn’t know of any such circumstances, the rather old woman in a gothloli costume acting arrogant in front of her merely looked like a simple retard, wearing ugly clothes while acting and speaking like a moron.
“Now then, it’s time for you to become a part of the foundation for the peaceful world His Majesty is going to create!”
With Sazane shouting this in front of her while a red light was amassing on her fingertip once more, Frau glanced upwards. The swarm of arms had filled most of the area, but she could spot Dra-kun fighting the evil dragons in the sky above every so often through the gaps between the arms.
Dra-kun had an overwhelming disadvantage when it came to numbers, but by capitalizing on his training and the live battle experience he had cultivated so far, he somehow kept weathering through the enemy attacks with the battle situation being something between both parties being equal and Dra-kun being slightly at disadvantage.
Once she shifted her eyes downwards, the city was slowly but reliably passing through the trench split open by the katurul’s tentacles.
Frau judged that neither side would fall into a dangerous situation even if she left them alone for a while.
“There is only one master in this world to whom I offer this body ~nano.”
The black arms separated from Frau’s shoulders. In exchange, a swarm of arms gathered underneath her to create a foothold. After landing on them with a thump, Frau looked down at Sazane, who was situated somewhat lower than her, and folded her arms in front of her chest.
“There’s not a single thing I’d give to the likes of the demon king ~no! You’re free to tuck your tail between your legs and scurry back from where you came from ~no!”
“What nonsense you prattle, villain!”
Once again a flame lance is fired from Sazane’s finger.
Without devoting itself to defense this time, the swarm of arms around Frau intercepted the approaching lance. A person who received powerful skills as blessing from some kind of being as Lost, and a fairy who grew by staying next to a Lost for a long time and receiving his influence, albeit being a product of this world; when these two clashed in the skies above the city, an impact that seemed to shake the atmosphere and ground resounded, becoming the starting signal for the battle between Lost and fairy.
The battle between the fairy and the Lost was also visible from Jade’s city. Originally that shouldn’t have been possible because of the densely growing trees and their leaf canopy covering the sky, but thanks to the attacks by the evil dragons, burning holes had opened up all over the leaf cover, allowing a peek at the sky.
“A huge, decisive battle between kaijuu…” 1
After having come back without so much of a notice, Rona directed a puzzled look at Renya, who had reflexively muttered that comment while staring upwards, not understanding what he was talking about.
Renya shrugged his shoulders, assuming that it was inevitable for her to not know what a kaijuu might be in this world that was usually overrun with dragons and other such monstrosities.
“No, it’s nothing.”
“Is that so? Leaving that aside, is Frau-san going to be alright up there?” Rona worriedly looked up, but as far as Renya could tell from the evil dragons flying through the black cluster, which he could spot through the trees, while spitting their breaths, he couldn’t visualize a future where Frau wouldn’t be alright.
“The silkies of this world…are damn amazing, I gotta say. Even if I only come to this realization this late in the game.”
“I think you’d receive vehement protests by all other silkies, if they heard this comment just now.”
Moreover, they’d likely loudly complain to not lump them together with that silky, Rona added in her mind.
At this point Frau was disconnected from common sense, and rather a part of the absurdity called Klinge. Thus, if someone were to demand the same standard from other silkies, any silky would very likely choose suicide after discerning that they’d be unable to meet that demand.
“In the first place, they’d reasonably ask what kind of hero Frau-san was supposed to be, seeing how she’s fighting demons who’re riding dragons, and gave the demon king – even if only a copy of him – a run for his money.”
In addition to Frau not really being aware of it herself, she didn’t actively bring up this topic, seemingly because silkies weren’t counted as race in this world, but if someone were to fully cover all that Frau had done up until today, it’d easily result in the picture of a person who could be labeled as hero, although it’d add a somewhat bad reputation to the title.
“Thinking about it now, I’ve had nothing to do this time, have I?”
Rona placed a hand on her forehead and shook her head in exasperation at Renya who grumbled that he didn’t feel like he’d done much, especially considering that he’d been the one who suggested searching for Emil.
“Don’t worry, just making this huge city fly through the sky goes well beyond the work of any average person.”
“My calling is to be a swordsman, though?”
“Bah, then tell me why a swordsman is doing something that even the strongest magic practitioner on the continent wouldn’t be able to pull off in their wildest dream?” Rona muttered with a sigh, and then after pondering for a moment, looked up to Renya, “So, umm, is your physical condition holding up?”
“It’s taken a change for the better, I’d say.”
Given that the mana cost for making the city fly had been tremendous, Renya’s condition wasn’t quite returning to normal, but now that the mana recovery has overtaken the consumption, it’d continuously recover as long as he didn’t use it for anything else, so Renya’s condition had improved significantly.
Rona stared at him as if to examine his state through his bearing and expression, and after confirming that Renya didn’t lie, she breathed out in relief.
“I’ve been telling you repeatedly, but just making a city fly could already be described as an unprecedented, big achievement, so isn’t it fine with that? I’m sure this will make its way into history books, you know? So please don’t try to get involved with anything else, okay? Okay, Renya?”
“Are you my mother, or what?” Renya answered while rolling his eyes at Rona who flooded him with requests at a rapid rate.
Hearing that, shock dyed Rona’s face for just a moment. Rona gestured claws with her hands, seemingly itching to grab Renya who wondered whether he’d mentioned something that offended her, while keeping her silence for a short time, apparently enduring something, just to glare at him.
Seeing her behavior, Renya assumed that she had somehow managed to resist jumping at him on impulse after considering that he was currently in the middle of maintaining the spell to keep this city flying.
While Rona kept glaring at him as if trying to stare daggers, she clearly declared, “I’m not so old that it’d be appropriate to call me a mother.”
“That was just an allegory…”
Even though she should be at the same age as Shion, Rona looked a lot older than her. Renya guessed that she somewhat had a complex towards being regarded as old even if she didn’t go as far as voicing it out. Seeing how she had insisted on it with a fairly serious look, he held back on giving her an unsavory reply that would show his lack of interest.
Rona continued grumbling something under her breath, directed at Renya, but apparently realizing that it’d be in vain anyway, she took several deep breaths as if to get her breathing in order after a short while, and asked Renya once more, “As there’s no issue with your condition, how is the control of the city coming along?”
“Because they’ve been exchanging heavy fire above, it’s become troublesome to adjust it. Even though the city is flying through magic arts, somewhat big spells are being fired all over the place, so the interferences are causing the flight to become unstable.”
What Renya was talking about was the city’s spell formula losing its balance because Frau and Frau’s enemies were successively unleashing big spells above the huge art crest which was necessary to keep the city afloat. Moreover, Frau was still alright since she seemed to be acting while paying attention to this fact, but because their enemies were releasing spells without a care about the effect on their surroundings, stray shots had started to hit the city, causing parts of the city to start collapsing here and there.
Furthermore, with the ground being gouged out by those stray shots, sections of the art crest drawn there were eradicated at the same time, resulting in the difficulty of controlling the spell formula going up by several degrees.
“We’ll be in trouble if she doesn’t get rid of them quickly, but the opponents don’t seem to be ordinary either.”
Renya didn’t know just what Frau had summoned up there, but the enemy was strong enough that her calling that black something as if to cover the entire sky with it and using it to fight wasn’t sufficient to bring the enemy down. He was filled with a strong desire to back her up, but most of Renya’s concentration was directed at controlling the spell, so he didn’t have any leeway to use any other magic arts.
Managing an art crest which got erased at several places and had been partially damaged wasn’t anything but ordinary. After all, the magic practitioner would need to compensate for the missing parts by themselves. Thanks to the skill allowing him to run spell formula in parallel, Renya was somehow able to divide the part controlling the crest itself and the part responsible for compensating the crest, but if he put Az in charge of controlling it for example, he should easily fail with the throughput due to the sheer amount of information processing. Because Rona knew this, her warnings had become so numerous with her also being worried about Renya.
“Still…” Renya sighed while looking around himself.
The city had mostly sunken into the trench created by the katurul with only a little remaining. Of course, the tentacles that created the rift were towering like a wall on the left and right in the direction of the city’s flight path.
It was a sight that would clearly make anyone lose their mind over time, but since this also had its advantage, Renya couldn’t completely dismiss it as gross either.
The advantage lay in crushing the possibility for their pursuers to board the city. Seeing that the city was traveling beneath ground level to pass underneath the barrier, it meant that it’d be possible to jump onto the city from the edge of the rift. Because the city’s speed wasn’t all that fast, the act of jumping on the city wasn’t overly difficult if you could use simple magic art to control the fall.
However, since the katurul’s tentacles were forming a wall, the enemy would be forced to scale the tentacle wall to jump on the city, and even for demons this was anything but a simple feat. As a result, Renya had only to worry about attacks coming from the sky.
Assuming that they’d be forced to engage in an urban warfare after the enemy jumped onto the city, just the troops under Jades would never be able to fully protect the city and its residents.
“Well, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s disgusting, though.”
The experience of slowly advancing through a corridor surrounded by walls of squirming flesh wasn’t anything anyone would want to go through, and even Renya couldn’t hinder his mood from taking a heavy hit.
As Renya held his forehead and sighed due to the surrounding scenery, which made him feel like he’d start seeing some kind of dream if he kept gazing at it too long, Rona repeatedly poked his shoulder from the side.
“What’s wrong, Rona?”
“No, it just somehow looked like you were depressed, Renya.” While saying so, Rona suddenly bent herself backwards as if stretching.
Of course it resulted in her body line, which boasted the biggest volume even if only among Renya’s friends, to be emphasized, naturally drawing Renya’s eyes to a certain part.
“How about you get your mind off things by looking at me then?”
Renya instinctively revealed a wry smile at Rona who was shaking her body a bit as if trying to lure him into looking at her.
“No…I appreciate your concern, but it seems like that would actually cause me to drop my control over the spell formula.”
If he ended up fascinated by her, he’d naturally concentrate on her, and neglect the control of the spell formula. Even though a precise spell control is already indispensable even under normal circumstances, the entire city would graze against the walls formed by the katurul’s tentacles if Renya’s focus were diverted by something unnecessary.
As someone who had been visually hurt by tentacles and flesh walls, Renya felt tempted to seek some salvation from Rona’s voluptuous body, but he resisted that allure, tearing his eyes off Rona with an iron will.
Due to Renya’s reactions, Rona had recently started to sense that she might have a chance to get some response if only she pushes a bit further, despite him having resisted advances previously.
As if he hadn’t noticed Rona, who had reaffirmed her determination to become somewhat pushy if the mood was right once things settled down, Renya looked up to the sky while chasing Frau, who seemed smaller than a speck of dust, and the evil dragons with his eyes.
“Well, let’s leave it at that.”
Perceiving Rona, who apparently had come to some kind of conclusion within her mind, making a gesture as if she was putting something in front of her aside, Renya shifted his eyes back to her while asking, “I’m really not in the mood of wanting to ask what you’re talking about, but is something wrong?”
“I was wondering whether we’d soon reach the location of the barrier.”
Being told so, he followed Rona’s line of sight, just to realize how something like a barrier was being formed in a place where nothing had been before in response to the huge city mass continuing to approach. The space which had shown no response whatsoever when Dra-kun passed through with his mass being far lower than that of the city, but it apparently reacted just as configured to the city’s approach.
The barrier wall seemed to even dig into some parts of the trench created by the katurul’s tentacles, but got completely cut off in the middle. Renya identified a room that would allow the city to somehow pass underneath the barrier.
“It looks like it’s going to work. Although it’s going to be quite close.”
“Shouldn’t we try to prune the tips of the trees we’re using as reinforcement of the foundation?”
It wasn’t wrong to assume that it might somehow affect the city’s foundation if a part of it got stuck on the barrier, if it remained limited to a little grazing of the tree tops, they should be able to force their way through regardless of the trees snapping apart or not, so Renya shook his head, assessing that it wasn’t necessary to expressly cut them down.
“Let’s not since I somehow feel like it’d piss off Croire.”
“No doubt. But, even without doing that, a reasonably high number of trees got destroyed anyway.”
It wasn’t as though he didn’t feel like increasing the number of broken trees wouldn’t really matter much at this point, but if they could proceed without doing so, it was preferable above all.
“I’m rather worried about Frau and Dra-kun.”
“Eh? About Frau-san?”
Renya nodded at Rona who apparently considered that unexpected.
“If we don’t get them to come back soon, we’ll end up passing the barrier without them. It’d be great if that space beneath the barrier remained open indefinitely, but our opponent won’t be that careless, don’t you think?”
If they were to realize that someone had passed underneath at that place, the barrier caster should first think of closing up that spot if they weren’t a total nutcase. It seemed to be already too late to hinder the city passing, but an alteration of the barrier’s spell formula might be in time for the passage of Frau and Dra-kun, who would follow afterwards.
Having said that, slowing down the city’s flight speed would only give birth to the possibility that Renya, the city, Frau, and Dra-kun altogether would fail to escape due to the barrier having had its spell formula altered.
Renya thought that he probably should call Frau back by using the telepathic link that had been established between him and her. While looking up to the barrier that was gradually coming closer, Renya began to heavily tend towards that idea.
Renya’s worry, or rather, impatience was passed on to Frau through their shared path while she was in the middle of combat. Once she cast a fleeting glance at the flight direction of the city far below her, Frau also realized that she was running out of time as the barrier was definitely close at hand.
However, even if she comprehended as much, it didn’t mean that her enemy would obediently let herself get defeated.
“I’ve finally understood your weak point.” Sazane shouted with a complacent smile from atop her evil dragon. “The range of your attack is wide and it possesses quite a lot of firepower, but it’s downside is that it doesn’t work when faced with maneuverability!”
“You sure run your mouth like a know-it-all ~no.”
Using the black mass pouring out of the tear she had created as a foothold, Frau quietly ground her teeth in vexation while glaring at the evil dragon as it flew around.
Actually it wasn’t as though Frau’s power didn’t work against maneuverability. But, since Frau had concluded that a power she could manipulate precisely wouldn’t be overly effective against evil dragons and that it wouldn’t be able to bring down Sazane who was unleashing spells with tremendous force, she had fallen back on broadly relying on a power that possessed a certain extent of range. And yet, that attack hadn’t hit Sazane and her dragon even once so far as it got shredded and burned to smithereens in front of Sazane’s spells.
Frau had attempted to go with a saturation attack based on the idea of cutting off all escape routes by filling the airspace with the black mass, but Sazane had cut through that mass with her spells before it managed to completely blanket the whole area.
“Chantless and a spell ability enhancement…just these two are already a pain to deal with ~no.”
The manifold black arms chasing after the evil dragons were scorched by Sazane’s lightning attacks and dispersed. Each time she set off the black mass with magic arts, a small, prickling pain assailed Frau. This pain only spurred Frau’s irritation even further.
Power that could be used on a wide range was evaded, and power that got narrowed down for precision got offset. And on top of that, Sazane used the time between both attacks for launching attacks at Frau.
“Eat this! <Flame Lance>!”
Frau negated the roaring spear of burning mana by letting the black mass clash against it. Once more parts of the black mass were entirely erased, resulting in a pain running through Frau’s head. Moreover, this time the atmosphere, which got heated up by the fire lance, fanned Frau’s displeasure by blowing against her unhindered.
“I’m far from done! Take this and this and this!”
Sazane began to try making her attacks somehow reach Frau by showering her with several dozen shots all at once, once she realized that one shot wouldn’t get through Frau’s defense.
The thick, black mass warded off all of those attacks before they could get to Frau, but since the mass got chipped away each time it erased an enemy attack, Frau’s irritation was continuously growing worse.
On the other hand, it wasn’t as if Sazane suffered any damage from having her spells negated. Furthermore, as befitting for a Lost, the amount of her mana had apparently been adjusted, and thus she didn’t show even the slightest signs of running out of it despite chantlessly firing quite powerful spells like a barrage.
“Haha! You’re only defending, aren’t you!? At this rate, I’ll work my way through your defense and burn you to death!”
“…You’re starting to piss me off ~no.”
A frustration that she couldn’t attack as she wanted to, and an irritation that was getting unilaterally fanned. In addition, the slight feeling of impatience she could sense from Renya was also added to the mix, resulting in something deep black starting to churn within Frau’s chest.
In a fit of anger, she forced the black mass to make a slightly big move, but Sazane easily dodged it thanks to the mobility of her dragon. The countless flame lances fired at Frau in return scraped the black something off once again.
“Come one, go, go! What’s wrong? You’re quite the slowpoke, aren’t you!?”
Sazane had her dragon circle in front of Frau so as to provoke her, but once Frau moved a part of the black mass to capture the dragon, Sazane skilfully steered her dragon to nimbly evade.
A barrage of spells rained down on the black mass as it cut through empty air. The black cluster, which got whittled down, gouged out and tattered, eventually faded away as if slowly melting into the atmosphere.
“Look! Here I come again!”
Once more countless flame lances headed for Frau. Frau was capable of evading those herself, but because she had unskillfully spread the black mass over a wide range, stray shots would always hit the mass, no matter how much Frau dodged the spells.
“I see, so that black, nasty power is directly connected to you.” Sazane realized that fact from Frau’s face which revealed how she was enduring the tingling pain.
Once she comprehended this, Sazane saw no further need to aim at Frau in particular. After all, everything covering the vicinity was a part of Frau.
“It’s going to hurt a bit, okay?”
Sazane didn’t give Frau the time to draw back the domain of her black power which she had spread out too far. At the same time as Sazane invested a huge amount of mana into a spell formula she had assembled on the spot, Frau guessed the true identity of that spell, looked up, and yelled, “Dra-kun! Evade ~no!”
Dra-kun should be still flying without any obstructions above the black power expanded by Frau. Going by Frau’s analysis, Sazane’s spell was a combination of multiple instances of <Roaring Lightning>. Moreover, it wasn’t kept at the scale of a light interception like until now, but used a power at the level of the one Renya had unleashed out of rage in a certain royal palace a while ago. From the very start, the option of dodging it didn’t exist for Frau.
If Frau were to dodge the spell through some kind of means, the spell, having lost its target, would directly impact on Jade’s city below her. Therefore she couldn’t allow for the black mass to be penetrated, and thus had no choice but to grit her teeth and weather through it.
“Let me hear you scream nicely!”
A thunderous explosion that was quite capable of rupturing one’s eardrums, and a light so dazzling that it pierced through the eyelids despite them being clamped down. Many pillars of lightning poured down towards the ground out of empty space, about to connect heaven and earth with their radiance. But as they ran into the black mass on their way, they got scattered in all directions.
The black mass continued to diminish at a scale incomparable from before. Moreover, because the black mass was directly connected with Frau, the power of the spell hitting the mass was transmitted to her. The pain assailing Frau in response was something she had never felt before.
With her bending backwards while screaming, not only pain, but also electric shocks tormented Frau. The backlash caused by the spell directly damaged Frau’s body. Her flesh and skin was torn, and blood gushed out all over her body, but that blood turned into black smoke because of the heat triggered by the electric discharge crawling across her body, and evaporated. Her apron dress started to get scorched at various places with white smoke billowing. Her hair also got burned, beginning to stink.
Nevertheless, Frau couldn’t afford to run away from there. If she stopped taking the attack, this much force would rush down on the city controlled by Frau’s master. If that happened, the city might get totally destroyed.
This very thought let Frau devotedly focus on defense, enduring the pain assaulting her whole body. Yet Sazane broadly grinned at her.
“You see, I’ve still got an evil dragon with me.”
The evil dragon serving as Sazane’s mount opened its muzzle towards Frau who couldn’t move because of the damage to her body and her being continuously hit by the spell. Due to the flickering flames fleetingly visible deep inside the muzzle with its array of sharp fangs, Frau groaned through the gaps of her gritted teeth.
“A breath…at this point…”
“Just lightning would be lonesome, don’t you think? Accept it gratefully since it’s going to nicely warm you up!”
“What a nasty personality you have…hag ~nano.”
Blue veins surfaced on Sazane’s forehead when she saw Frau laughing crookedly as she insulted her while bearing the pain. Apparently really pissed off, Sazane snarled orders at her dragon in such a rage that foam was sent flying from her mouth.
“Reduce that brat to ashes!”
When Sazane pointed a trembling finger – most likely quivering because of her over-boarding anger – at Frau, the evil dragon spat out the fire breath after amassing plenty of power. The line of fire, which assaulted Frau by tearing through the sky, was somewhat inferior to Sazane’s <Flame Lance>, but it still possessed plenty of force.
In response, Frau extended her palms towards that fire ray, seemingly trying to block it even while being tortured by the still ongoing lightning spell, and mumbled something under her breath. And then Frau got swallowed by the dragon’s breath without anything happening.
Watching Frau’s small body disappearing within the raging torrent of fire, Sazane laughed out loudly.
“Hahahaha! Serves you right! I killed you! Just as I thought, you people have to be obliterated!”
Back when Sazane joined the demon king’s side, she obtained magic art skills and parallel spell formula activation as blessings. Sazane had poured an amount of mana close to the limit she could use at once into the <Roaring Lightning> spell. In the midst of Frau being damaged by that spell, the full power breath of the evil dragon attacked her from the side. No matter how much out of any norm the opponent might be, Sazane couldn’t imagine at all that Frau would come out unscathed when faced with this two-staged attack.
And as a matter of fact, Frau was nowhere to be seen after the breath passed the spot she ought to be. Despite being a fairy, the opponent was still no more than a small girl. Sazane was sure that she must have burned down completely without even leaving embers behind.
“Now then, I got rid of that annoying fairy. Next is that…harem bastard called Renya or whatever.”
If Renya himself had heard this, he’d deny it with all his might. While applying a nickname to Renya which might have caused him to worry that it could actually be true, Sazane looked downwards at the city flying at a low altitude, or rather, sinking into the ground.
The parts that had been initially hit by the evil dragons’ breath attacks had their fires already extinguished. There existed holes at many places of the overgrowing trees, but it didn’t appear to have had any effect on the city’s flight itself. Sazane considered several fatal spells to be used against the city which continued to fly, albeit slowly.
“At its current altitude, it might not cause much of a damage, even if I were to break it to pieces. Still, well, as long as I can stop it from moving any further, His Majesty will probably come up with the next step.”
It might be a good idea to go with another shot of <Roaring Lightning>, Sazane assessed. If it’s the spell which slaughtered that fairy, it should pierce through any potential defense measure the city has in place, and destroy it altogether.
Having come to that conclusion, Sazane prepared her magic art, but then suddenly looked above her, frowning. The black mass, which had been summoned by Frau, was still lurking up there as if hanging like a shroud over Sazane.
Probably because its manipulator, Frau, was gone, it had become very quiet as if its previous, vigorous movements had been a lie, and it loosely hung over Sazane like a jellyfish umbrella that had lost all its strength.
“It’s a nuisance. It might pose no threat anymore, but maybe it’s going to negatively affect my spell’s power.”
Beginning to think that it might be smart to make it disperse with <Flame Lance> or something else, Sazane looked up once more, as if suddenly having noticed something. The black mass was still there, maintaining a shape similar to an umbrella.
When Frau had manipulated it, the mass, which had more or less blocked the <Roaring Lightning> unleashed by Sazane, was originally something supposedly linked to Frau. Now that Frau, the source of its power, had been vanquished, it wouldn’t be odd for it to have vanished as well. And yet the black mass still existed while keeping a clearly defined shape.
Something bad is going on.
As if stirred by that thought, Sazane suspended the <Roaring Lightning> she had been preparing, and tried to switch to another magic art. But, at that moment, the black something, which was hovering like a thunder cloud, began to emit low, heavy sounds, similar to distant thundering, and a flash of light from within just like you’d actually expect a thunder cloud to act.
“That fairy…don’t tell me!?”
The instant Sazane instinctively directed her eyes to the city below her after having noticed something, the entirety of the black mass floating in the sky turned into bright red fire and burst alongside a loud explosion. Of course, Renya and the others could hear the explosion below as well.
“Hold onto something! It’s going to shake!” Renya called out to Rona in panic due to the crimson explosion of fire covering the entire sky.
At the same time, he devoted his thoughts to flying the city, trying to restrain the effect of the heat blast that would arrive anytime soon so that it wouldn’t cause an impediment to the flight.
However, there was absolutely no sign of the blast that ought to have arrived by now. Realizing that no shaking, even not at the level of ripples, affected the city, Renya quizzically looked up to the sky.
“Pheew…that was a close one ~no.”
Frau’s voice suddenly came from beneath Renya. Rona, who was clinging to Renya’s shoulder for some reason, and Renya watched Frau coming out unhurt from Renya’s shadow as if crawling out of a hole. While unable to process what had happened just now, Renya and Rona looked at each other with their faces almost touching.
“Umm, Frau? Just what the hell is going on here?”
“I will explain later ~nano. I will not go as far as telling you to stop getting intimate with each other, but master, you need to quickly cross the barrier ~no.”
Interrupting Rona who was trying to get an explanation out of her, Frau pulled her body out of Renya’s shadow with that comment.
Renya grasped that asking her for an explanation had to wait, and immediately replied with a confirmation
The city couldn’t really fly all that fast, but since the barrier itself wasn’t overly thick either, just crossing it wouldn’t require that much time. But, Renya was worried about Dra-kun still not having returned. That worry proved to be unnecessary since Dra-kun had lowered his altitude while flying big circles outside the range of the explosion which had likely been caused by Frau, plunged into the leaf canopy that had become full of holes and burns at this point, and remained there.
It was a way of landing that could be described as an emergency landing, but the city itself didn’t have any space allowing Dra-kun’s huge frame to land on, and the number of branches was too lacking to allow him to perch on them. As a result, he landed on a place with a high density of leaves and branches, apparently having judged that this would be the safest means.
Dra-kun’s appearance as he lay with his belly on the densely overgrown leaves vividly reminded one of a bird rather than a dragon, but Dra-kun himself looked somewhat smug over having pulled off what he believed to have been a skillful landing.
“Frau, please tell us about the situation. Did you take down our pursuers?”
The city had crossed the barrier. Or rather than calling it crossed, it’d be more correct to describe it as sliding past, but either way, the city, which had left the barrier’s boundary, began to slowly rise from the katurul’s tear through Renya’s control in order to get up to its previous altitude again.
It wasn’t as though they could feel relieved just because they had crossed the barrier, but having repelled the first wave of pursuers, Renya judged that the demon king likely didn’t have such ample military forces at hand that he could dispatch the next wave right away.
If he had so many troops that he could dispatch them in waves, he should have sent them out much earlier to begin with.
“I don’t know…~no.” Unlike usual, Frau’s reply was rather evasive. “There was some feedback ~no. Since I surrounded them with a cluster of mana and decoys, they should have suffered injuries from the explosion that was directed inwards ~no. But, if you’re asking me whether it brought them down…I’m not confident to be honest ~no.”
“For you, that’s an unusual assessment, isn’t it Frau?”
Frau’s face became grim upon Rona’s question.
“I might have underestimated the power of the Lost ~no. Even more so than the ferocity of that woman’s smell, she was quite powerful in regular combat ~no.”
“How strong would you estimate her?” Renya asked.
Frau sat down on the ground, folded her arms, and pondered. Since she had been asked for a strength measurement, she needed something to compare her to, but despite having seen and fought various enemies so far, Frau still lacked samples.
“I think…she’s as strong as the demon king clone I fought during Klinge’s defense ~no.”
Rona gasped at the conclusion Frau reached after thoroughly thinking it over for a while. According to what she had heard, the demon king’s clone obtained a draw in the battle against the clone operated by Frau, but if that was to be true, the capability of the Lost on the enemy’s side wasn’t anything they could deal with unless they threw a hero at her.
“I guess that’s a problem then.”
“Yes, it’s a problem ~nano. If things go badly, it’s possible that someone like Albert could be done in by her with little effort ~no.”
With Frau casually putting the name of the dragonoid’s hero on the table, Renya sank into brooding while Rona’s face cramped up.
“What’s wrong, Rona-ane-sama ~no?”
“Are you telling us that a hero would lose against that Lost?” Rona shook her head, finding the idea unbelievable.
In the first place, heroes are regarded as the strongest combat forces of their respective race, capable of opposing the demon king in this world. That doesn’t mean that they’re strong enough to fight the demon king alone, but their strength isn’t at a level that would let them lose against a clone of the demon king either, Rona believed.
However, Frau’s evaluation of Albert was low.
“If it’s Kurz-kun or Lepard, I think they’d be even or stronger than that woman ~no. Frau thinks that Albert falls somewhat behind them in raw power ~nano.”
“Do you share her view, Renya?”
As far as Rona knew, no one was able to best Renya when it came to combat. Once she asked for his opinion, Renya remained silent for a short moment, before muttering a short answer.
“I think it’s meaningless to discuss victory and defeat before the actual fight, you know?”
“Ugh…how very typical of you, master ~no.”
“Besides, if Albert had heard what you said just now, he’d feel offended. It’s nothing you should blather out thoughtlessly.”
When chided by Renya like this, Frau dropped her shoulders in dejection. Seeing her reaction, Renya felt like he might have gone slightly too far, but he thought that she’d be very capable of spilling it at a time when he didn’t pay attention to it, if he didn’t nip it in the bud.
Nevertheless, Renya could also sympathize with Frau’s evaluation of the heroes to a certain extent.
It’s only natural that Kurz’s combat ability is high as he’s been created by Frau, and among the other heroes, Lepard would be the second strongest, Renya assessed. Moreover, even Grün, who specialized in stealth operations, has high combat abilities. Compared to those three, Albert, who’s being shunned by Frau, doesn’t measure up to Kurz in offensive range, to Lepard in destructive power, and to Grün in speed. Putting it nicely, he doesn’t have any aspect he excels in, and if you’re mean, you could say that he’s got no ability worthy of mention.
Of course, Renya would never voice out his evaluation of Albert.
“Anyway, we’re going to return to Klinge for the time being. Let’s postpone the information exchange and meetings for counterplans since I want to quickly free myself from this burden.”
As long as he didn’t land Jade’s city somewhere, Renya would be forced to continuously pour power into the spell formula. Furthermore, a part of his concentration would always remain occupied with controlling the city.
Frau bobbed her head at Renya’s appeal.
“That makes sense, master. You just need to hold out until we reach Klinge ~nano.”
“Come to think of it, unless we decide on a location to land this thing…”
Renya said up to this point, but then looked over his shoulder for some reason while continuing to control the city’s slow ascent. Because the city was rising diagonally, the tear in the land, which the city had been passing through, had become visible. Ahead of Renya’s line of sight countless tentacles were widely swaying to the left and right as if waving goodbye to Jade’s city.
Renya guessed that they were seeing them off, but in the end, this whole scenery made him sick. Moreover, once they finished waving, the tentacles slithered back underground, slowly disappearing. That sight somehow reminded Renya of earthworms, and he couldn’t help but to feel dispirited.
“Well…it certainly saved us there. I must at least extend my thanks later on, don’t I…?”
The other side was a cluster of tentacles, but Renya believed that he should follow up on the debt of gratitude.
“There’s no problem about the landing point either ~no. You will know once we reach Klinge ~no!”
Frau assured Renya, this time very confidently, but neither Renya nor Rona believed that things would proceed so smoothly. After all, they were talking about a place to lower a city’s amount of sand, stones, and soil. Furthermore, the mass of sand and earth with its unevenness seemed like it’d break down within moments together with the city on top of it, if you lowered it too roughly.
Renya had not the slightest idea how to bring the city down without any issues. He thought that he might need Jade and his people to accept a certain level of damage to the city in the worst case. As Frau was confidently insisting that it’d be alright despite all that, caused Renya and Rona to feel somewhat bothered.
Without thinking up any countermeasures, time trickled away as Renya focused himself on keeping the city flying.
After passing the barrier around the demon territory, and without any pursuers seemingly coming after them, Renya kept flying the city at a good pace, and before long, they got close to Klinge’s outskirts. What Renya and Rona spotted there was the very reason why Frau had assured them so confidently about the landing point earlier.
Those were noticeable enough to be seen from atop of Jade’s city high up in the sky. They were right next to Renya’s city Klinge.
In a place that used to be an empty plain as far as Renya remembered, a huge amount of tentacles protruded out of the ground as if forming a forest. Klinge’s soldiers stood in the vicinity of those things, which would chip away the mental health of anyone looking at their wriggling, acting as guards so that no one would try to approach the tentacles.
“Yes, those ~nano.”
“Well…it sure looks like we can land the city as long as those are around.”
The plan Frau had come up with for a landing point was to have the katurul create a huge tear near Klinge, like it did at the barrier, and to completely insert Jade’s city in that tear. However, given that simply inserting a city into a hole would be too unstable since the crust beneath the city would be loose and a big space would be left underneath, it came with the extra work of adding soil from the vicinity and burying any possible gaps with it after inserting the city.
“If you fly the city above the hole, Katurul-san will handle the rest for us.”
“…You’ve definitely planned this out.”
Even while admiring Frau for being able to request something like this from a swarm of tentacles, which looked like it’d fly into rage over being told to do this, Renya slowly steered the city above the tentacles.
Jade and the city’s residents had seen the tentacles when crossing the barrier, but maybe because it was their second time, they didn’t suffer from any major side effects like fainting, albeit looking quite disgusted.
Once the city arrived right above the tentacles, they stretched out and began to twine themselves around the city’s foundation.
“Master, I’d like you to release your control over the spell formula bit by bit ~no.”
“I guess you’ve got a point there.”
If the tentacles pulled the foundation downward while the city was kept afloat through the spell’s power, the foundation would crumble apart in a power tugging war between the spell trying to keep it afloat and the katurul trying to pull it down. For the sake of avoiding this fate, Renya, the one controlling the spell, had to slowly stop his control, but adjusting this was pretty complicated.
If he released it too much, an excessive weight would press down on the tentacles, and the city would be in risk of having a part destroyed as it wouldn’t be possible to fully support all of it anymore. On the other hand, if he was too slow in releasing his control, the city would break down in the power struggle between the tentacle and spell’s forces.
So as to not allow that to happen, Renya carefully and very slowly stopped his control of the spell formula while keeping the state of the tentacles in sight. After some time, Renya had stopped the control of the spell altogether, and the city had lost its buoyancy. Its huge mass had completely sunken into the tear while being supported by a huge amount of tentacles.
“It’s a success ~no.” Frau breathed out in relief.
Renya also flashed a smile, relieved over having skilfully landed the city, while wiping the sweat off his forehead. However, he couldn’t remain in such a state indefinitely either. Suppressing the wish to rush back to his room, throw himself on his bed, and take a good, long rest, Renya hurled out several orders in quick succession.
“Jade, can I have you make sure that your residents understand the situation and don’t cause any problems by mistake? Rona, ask Dra-kun to send a message that we arrived at Klinge, and to prepare a meeting after gathering the people of all offices. After all, a demon city has appeared next to Klinge. We must get the residents of Klinge to understand and make sure that no hotblooded folk cause any trouble. Frau, find Croire and ask her to widely spread the roots supporting the city into the ground to securely affix it on this land.”
Since they moved here alongside the whole city, the goods originally stored in the city were still there, and thus there should be no need to worry about the demons starving all of a sudden or some such. But, even those goods were limited in quantity. If they didn’t come up with some method to replenish the stock, the city would run out sooner or later which would cause issues for the demons’ lives.
Hence it was necessary to think about the future together with those in charge of managing the goods distribution, and it was also necessary to send out various notifications to Klinge’s soldiers and similar so that no problems would crop up between humans and demons.
Even Renya had known from the start that things wouldn’t be over with him bringing the city here, but now that he considered all the things that had to be dealt with, he felt a strange weight pressing down on his shoulders, even though he had just moments ago freed himself from the weight of Jade’s city.
If he were to order for things to be put in motion to some extent, he hoped that he’d be able to leave the rest to Mayria and her civil officials. If Mayria and her subordinates heard that, they’d immediately run away at full speed.
Letting such thoughts wander across his mind, Renya spotted a figure roaring noisily while kicking up a cloud of sand as they ran this way from Klinge.
“Renya! Welcome back! I’m so happy to see that everything worked out well!”
Shion had run up all the way without even catching a breath, but before Renya could greet her back, she tightly grasped Renya’s hands. Shion tried to pull Renya, who was surprised over having his hands grabbed all of a sudden. Sensing that, Renya quickly shook off her head, causing her to tumble on the ground.
Standing up without a single scratch despite having fallen down quite flashily, Shion pointed a finger at Renya, and protested, “What are you doing!?”
“That’s what I should be asking you. Just what happened?”
“You’ll know once you follow me. I can’t handle it myself. So I’d like you to accompany me at once.”
Once he looked at Shion’s face, he somehow knew that Shion was under pressure. However, albeit he had asked her to explain what had happened, her answering that he’d know if he followed her either meant that she didn’t know how to explain it with words or that she thought he wouldn’t believe her even if she explained it with words.
“Okay. Frau, I leave this place to you. Can you handle it?”
Renya judged to prioritize the situation at hand.
“Leave it to me ~no. Please be careful, master.”
“Okay, it’s in your hands then. Alright, lead the way, Shion.”
After hearing Frau immediately confirming his request, Renya urged Shion to guide him. Shion started to run which triggered Renya to run after her.
“Though I’d love to take a rest…”
Even though he grumbled this, it wasn’t as though the problems in front of him would simply vanish into thin air. A part of his fore bangs had become white, but even as he worried about the possibility of his other hair turning white soon as well, he concentrated on running for now.
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