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The voice was reverberating directly in my head and heart. It was the goddess. I felt a mysterious weight pressing down on my shoulders…
And then I started to gradually lose mana.
“Ooohh? A Battle Spirit clad in a garment of water?”
“Is he someone belonging to the twelve distinguished families?”
“I thought the huge black beast might be a guardian, but…”
“But, he’s not wearing an army uniform.”
“Rather than that, where is this place…? The trees growing here…I’ve never seen those types before…”
The people close to Rollodeen commented as they pleased. Apparently they haven’t grasped grasp that they’re currently in a different world.
And then Rollodeen lifted her upper body, trying to look up at the water goddess. She imposingly stood on her two hind paws.
“Nn, nyaa～,” she meowed.
Lifting one of her front paws, she revealed her pad.
She repeatedly lifted and lowered her front paws as if asking, 『Want to receive my paw seal nya~?』. To me it looked like nothing more than cute cat antics, but…my partner was currently in her huge divine beast form. Thus, it obviously scared the people she had rescued.
But, I understood through my senses. This <Call of the Water Goddess> should be an ability that’s influenced by battle…
“――Do not fret, Divine Beast who received Sadeyula and Gaia’s blessing. I am no more than an illusion.”
The goddess had apparently read Rollodeen’s feelings.
『Let me answer your question. Just as you thought, <Call of the Water Goddess> is originally an ability that causes an illusion of me to clad a weapon. This time I have used it as a water call. And I projected my own illusion by using the water in the area and the majority of the mana activated by you』
I comprehended from Water Goddess Akreshys’s voice. I was looking up above my head. The wheat-colored sun shone through the transparent garment, beautifully illuminating her inner thighs. I had no bad intentions in looking. It was just that I was looking up to her from right below.
I’m a guy, too. So I ended up staring at the deepest place between her pretty legs, her crotch. It had a color reminiscent of water. Its shape was rather small, and she wore extremely refined panties which were adorned with frills and highly artistic strings. Seeing how she’s a water goddess, I guess you can call those godly panties.
Her clothes were similar to Helme’s, but the coloring was slightly different.
『Hmm, an indecent stare…』
I quickly shifted my eyes to Rollodeen.
Has Rollodeen realized?
She immediately unleashed a divine beast punch, cutting at air.
『…Forgive me, Water Goddess-sama. I am indebted to you. But, Helme has…』
In the meantime, Helme was about to become a single cluster as if imitating a crystal while glowing. Her Yellow Water Ribbon crest had surfaced as well.
Does this mean it’s related to <Sage Art – Understanding of the Yellow Water Ribbon>?
『Did she absorb a part of the demi-goddess?』
『Indeed. In order to protect me』
『The demi-goddess might have been weakened, but absorbing a goddess was unreasonable even for your brave kin』
Me trusting in her defensive capabilities also played a role, but I guess it was my mistake.
『…Yes. I’m going to be more careful from now on. Are you going to return Helme to her previous state?』
『Be more careful? Helme, who used to be my kin, is now your bloodkin. It’s her duty to protect you. Or to be more precise, the Helme over there is evolving. It’ll take time, but I think she will return to normal eventually』
Eh? This is the process of her evolving?
『How long is it going to take?』
『In mortal time, it’ll require a millennium』
…Thousand years. I’d hate to be separated from Helme for such a long time. Rollo is my partner, but Helme is also dear to me as a partner. For a goddess, such a long time might be no more than a blink of an eye, though.
『I’d like her to recover quickly. Is that possible?』
『It’d be impossible for an ordinary person. But, it might be possible for you』
So it might be possible for me, huh?
『Please tell me the method by all means』
『Very well. First, soak Helme in the lake over there and expand your sage art across the vicinity while pouring your mana into her. Next, invoke 《Water Cure》 after stimulating it with your mana. Then, if you can successfully remove the scum of the demi-goddess that’s probably clinging to Helme’s core…Helme should recover. Lastly, at the moment when you have retrieved all of the scum, she’s going to spit out the demi-goddess’s part…supposedly. This would be the proof of it having succeeded. But, the extreme difficulty…』
『――Okay, then I’ll get to it at once』
It had a nuance of me not really wanting to hear the last part of what the goddess wanted to say, but I didn’t care.
For starters, I touched the metallic cross next to my right eye, booting up the Kaleidoscope. The metallic device, which would pass on the energy into my eyeball, deployed. It possessed a surface similar to a highly-efficient, intelligent glass. The attachment near my temple transformed into a 卍 just as always.
Frames were added to my existing visual field, and the resolution was enhanced as well. I scanned the wriggling Helme cluster.
Brain Waves: Immeasurable
Overall Physical Strength: Immeasurable
Elenium Integration: 99809？？？
It was bugged. I scanned the cluster, but the dense mana was so heavily overlapping that it looked like a natural mosaic. I could barely understand that it was a wriggling being.
I deactivated the Kaleidoscope by touching the attachment once more.
Then I carried Helme to the lake. While soaking the Helme cluster with water from the lake at the shore, I poured mana into it.
At that moment, the cluster absorbed the water around it, instantly turning into a humanoid shape. The humanoid floated up while looking asleep.
I activated <Magic Hand guided by Thought> and placed the crooked mana hand beneath Helme. Helme’s core, a bluish-black orb, was exposed at her chest. It’s the same orb she showed me when we formed a contract.
At the same time, pearl-like water droplets kept trickling down along Helme’s nude body before falling from the mana hand into the lake.
Small, blue butterflies squirmed on the bluish-black orb. This must be the scum the water goddess mentioned…
I deployed my sage art. It allowed me to gain the sensation of being a part of the surroundings, as if having fused with nature, peculiar to a sage body. The mist of my sage art spread out. It slowly crept onward while creating wave patterns on the lake’s surface.
Is it a herald of strong feelings? Though, the mana consumption that feels like it’s twisting my stomach is the same nonetheless…
Different from the usual sage art…the mist looked like a dense blanket of white flames.
After confirming my vicinity, I focused on Helme, strongly believing that I’d heal her.
I clad my whole body in Magic Combat Style without ever having attempted to run my sage arts and Magic Hand guided by Thought at the same time. But, I won’t lose to the vague assimilation with nature.
So as to affirm my own self, I focused on the Magic Shoutaiyin Feijing in order to knead my mana, which was centered beneath my navel, once more. I’ll decide it through my inner strength.
On top of that, I silently cast 《Water Cure》, invoking it. A transparent water globe, which was bigger and shining brighter than usual, manifested in front of my eyes.
The water globe sank into Helme’s body as if melting into it. And then I placed my mana-laden on a butterfly that was coiled around Helme’s core. I carefully grabbed the sticky end of the butterfly and removed it by pulling it up from below.
White, burning hands appeared from within the white mist that had assimilated with me. The hands were covered by countless white flames, looking like they contained a burning, seething steel core within. The hands and my own hands performed a surgery on Helme’s open heart, carefully removing all the stains polluting her core.
The blue butterflies moved their sticky wings. They had multiple legs on their bellies like centipedes.
The hands and I threw away these trash bugs of Golgonshura. The instant the butterflies came in contact with the white flames of the mist around me, they evaporated.
――Alright, most of the cleaning is done.
It was quite a troublesome piece of work. Removing those clinging to the core with tentacles was a major pain.
※Piiing※ <White Flame Sage Hand> skill acquired ※
※Piiing※ Conditions for <White Flame Sage Hand User> met ※ Sage Occupation Class has gone up ※
※Piiing※ Your Class has gone up from <Sage Art Apprentice> to <Sage Hand User of the White Flame> ※
<Sage Hand User of the White Flame>, huh? I reached the next rank after apprentice while being watched by the water goddess. But, it looks like my spear and sage arts won’t fuse yet.
I mean, my combat occupation hasn’t evolved even after I killed Golgonshura. Well, seeing how <Spirit Spear Blood Chain Master> is an extremely rare combat occupation, it won’t go that easily, I suppose. Well, various things might influence it either way.
Combat occupations you can’t acquire unless you get woodworking-based skills should also exist.
Suddenly, Helme’s throat expanded abnormally. The instant her mouth turned into a huge, round hole,
She vomited some kind of object alongside some water. It was an oval gem which lightly floated on the lake without sinking. Its surface had depressions. Countless trenches ran alongside its surface, forming the shapes of small butterflies.
Thereupon, the part of the butterflies, which hadn’t evaporated after being thrown away, headed for that gem. They were moving as vigorously like starving piranhas…
The butterfly successively bit into the gem’s depressions, and furthermore clung to its surface with their legs.
Eventually, the butterflies stopped moving after adopting the same color as the gem. Following that, the butterfly carvings on its surface revived as if the gem was filled with power. Its egg shape didn’t change overly much compared to right after being spat out by Helme. It just lost some of its depressions on the surface, increasing the cleanness of the gem.
I grabbed the gem, pressed it and traced the remaining trenches with my fingers, but nothing happened. I didn’t send any mana into it, since it’d probably trigger something.
This gem was certainly interesting, but first I had to handle the matter with Helme. She was sleeping while floating above the lake.
Her sleeping face is adorable…
I stuffed the gem, which looked like it’d become a key, into my pocket.
『Thank you for always』, I strongly thought while brushing Helme’s hair to the sides. Supporting Helme’s body, I carried her like a knight, before lowering her on the ground.
The grass at the shore was soft, making it a great bed. Helme was snoring lightly.
I wonder whether the surgery succeeded.
The skillfulness was excellent and decent.
By now night had already claimed the land. But it was bright because Rollodeen had created a blazing column at a place alongside the lakeshore. She was using her tentacles to catch fish, prawns, wild mice, and beaver-like monsters, handing her catches to the people she rescued.
But, none of them seemed willing to eat any of it.
『……Has Helme been saved with this?』
『It seems so. But, you are aware that I’m not here like this just to talk about this with you, right?』
Before that, I got to deal with Golgonshura’s stone…
『Yes, please wait a moment. Umm, the existence of this oval gem means that Golgonshura is still alive, right? And I’m also curious about Kizeleg, the content of that silver coffin, which had been in such a focus by Golgonshura』
I shifted my eyes to the coffin which stood at the shore all by itself.
『Don’t worry. It’s a fact that Golgonshura, one of the gods who had been fighting over the Barrier Master of the twelve Seas of Trees in the past, has perished. It’d be a different story if this was a labyrinth with a Black Ring, but you have defeated the demi-goddess who had been sealed in Sela』
『But, it’s too early to rejoice. A god remains a god, even when weakened. Golgonshura possesses a unique space-time-based ability that created her domain in the Sea of Trees and brought forth the Hill of the Light Cross. Gods are beings who stand at the top of many different levels of beings』
『Even if it is true that her divinity has dropped after being destroyed on Sela, it’s very likely that the source of her spirit has survived somewhere. Her source has either been captured by the bottomless swamp of the netherworld, or it has fallen to the bottom of the Ten-Layered Hell, the deepest part of Spirit World Sebdola, or…maybe the Prison Dimension Godolon. I heard those are the place where the shells of gods accumulate…』
If it’s the Ten-Layered Hell, I’ve heard of it. So it’s been such a place, huh?
『Still, I might be repeating myself, but Golgonshura has perished on Sela. Just a few of her kin are probably remaining besides this egg stone that contains a part of her divinity』
『Is it possible for her to revive with this stone as origin?』
『Yes, it is』
『It seemed like she desired that Kizeleg or whatever…』
『That will only help if both are released. Are you going to free them? I wouldn’t do it』
Thereupon, 『Aahhnn, Your Excellencyyy』
『…She’s watching a lewd dream. Don’t tell me, Varmina got to her?』
My spine shuddered.
『…Haha, Helme isn’t in touch with her. Rather, she’s been blocking Varmina off for me. I have mark from Varmina on my neck, after all』
I’ve also got a connection with the boobs of magic poison, err, Goddess of Magic Poison Misea…
『…Should I praise you for your courage to show that off in front of me? You’re a filthy man with a stigma』
Oh shit, her voice sounds like she’s going to unleash a blizzard at me any moment now. I thought it’d get exposed sooner or later anyway, so I mentioned it. But, was that a bad idea?
『…Oh well, it’s something I’ve already been aware of. It’s become a cornerstone of your chaotic nature, so it can’t be helped』
Oh my, I thought she’d get pissed off a lot more, but it looks like I was wrong. Water Goddess-sama’s words were kind…full of broadminded love. I couldn’t see her face from here, but I instinctively focused on showing a smile.
I felt like the lake’s water level had dropped, but without paying any heed to that, I watched Helme’s condition.
『So, loving Water Goddess-sama, what is your business with me…?』
『…It’s about the flash of darkness released by your Destruction Spear Gladopalus. That flash, which killed a goddess of Sela, reached those possessing power across many places like the divine domain or the Spirit World. It should have especially strongly drawn the attention of those gods who have a relationship with you. Because of that, I’m feeling vexed』
So there was a meaning to it after all, eh? The water goddess appears to hate Gladopalus…
『But, since that’s currently my strongest attack against individuals…』
『Seems so. And that’s exactly why! Find the Water God Spear Aquashed, which my younger brother Sea God Sepiton created together with me and Fire God Enphrit. Then you’ll be able to toss away that Destruction Spear, the beloved weapon of some Spirit World Knight or some other unknown guy, and use my water god spear instead』
Discarding the Magic Destruction Spear, huh? But, it’s a summon…
『…Water God Spear Aquashed, something like that is…』
『Although I’ve told you all that, I can’t personally grant it to you like the <Instant Wand of Water>. Forgive me…』
It makes me feel obliged to have a goddess apologize to me.
『…Why is that water god spear no longer in your possession?』
『I lost it in a bet against the fire and sea gods』
『What kind of bet was it?』
『It concerned the prospering of a certain ocean race. Having lost that bet, I stabbed Aquashed into the bottom of the sea where Sepiton dwells. I remember that my little brother rejoiced very much as he became able to grow special offerings thanks to it』
A spear that brings about blessings, huh? I think it’d be bad to pull that out then.
『…I won’t pull out a spear which seems to be so valuable』
『For you to turn down my request! If you can form a contract with Aquashed, it’ll show its presence to you as divine spear comparable, no, excelling that destruction spear』
『What about your important match with the fire and sea gods? If I meddle with a promise between gods and annul it, won’t it anger the fire and sea gods?』
『Certainly, it might upset them. But that will be no more than an excuse to win you over to the divine domain’s side. They should accept it as long as they hear your reason for doing it』
In short, she’s telling me to not become hostile towards the divine domain.
『Water Goddess-sama, I’m grateful to you. I have the conceit of possessing an average level of piety, too. But, I’ll turn down your Aquashed…I’m me and as such I don’t intend to follow any path that’s been laid out for me. I might end up doing it unconsciously though』
『…You’re such a damn stubborn chaos bringer! But, that’s what I love about you. It’s fine for you to simply keep the matter of Aquashed stowed away in a corner of your mind. Keep using <Call of the Water Goddess> from now on, alright?』
『I shall take my leave then』
『Although you’ve been blessed with a vast amount of mana, this extreme mana consumption should be hard on you, I suspect… Lastly, it applies to those from the Spirit World without saying, but you should also be careful of the 【Graveyard of Ancient Gods】――』
At that moment, the mysterious weight vanished from my shoulder. The absorption of my mana ceased as well. Still, she didn’t show any of Helme’s butt lover poses to me. Well, considering her summoning locations, it’d have been kinda difficult, so it was inevitable. I shall offer a prayer to Water Goddess-sama’s panties which have vividly burned themselves into my memory. It might have been a divine miracle.
“…Your Excellency, I’m…”
“――Oh, how wonderful. You woke up, huh?”
Helme leaped into my embrace as soon as she got up.
“I was surprised back then.”
“…I failed at taking in the goddess’ part, and intended to bid farewell from you at the end, Your Excellency――”
“Never say anything like that again.”
“Auuh, please don’t get angry with me,” Helme lowered her eyes while in my arms.
“You made me worried. So, can you promise it?”
“Yes, I shall promise you. U-Umm, Your Excellency, was it you who saved me?” Helme asked while cladding herself in her usual clothes and magic garment.
It’s probably no coincidence that I feel like her outlines have become more accentuated due to the graduation of the colors of her long hair. …She’s extremely beautiful.
And after shifting her eyes from her slender hand to her own voluptuous chest, she directed them at me.
“…Indeed. While receiving instructions from Water Goddess-sama, I carried out an operation while using a new sage art skill. I removed Golgonshura’s scum, which had made you suffer, from within you.”
“…As I thought! Your Excellency’s power saved me! I’m so happy…”
“According to the goddess, you’d have returned to normal if you had remained in that cluster state of yours for a thousand years, but…as might be expected, I would have been sad to miss out on your stories about your ambitions and your poses for such a long time. Losing my training partner would be a bummer, too. Due to that I asked myself what worth a world without you would have. Because of that――”
While shedding tears with her eyes trembling, Helme placed her index finger on my lips, telling me to not speak any further.
She slowly lowered her finger, and closed her long, wet eyelashes. Immediately following, she turned her small lips in my direction.
――Just as she wished, I gently pressed my lips on hers. After starting off slowly, I gave her a deep kiss so as to caress her lovely lips. And at the end, I gave her a bit of my mana as a little gift.
I carried Helme in my arms after her legs gave way. Helme put her arms around my neck, as if telling me that she couldn’t hold back any longer, and pressed her lips against mine. Of course, a long, long, deep kiss followed. It was such an intense kiss that I worried I might warp Helme’s lips.
A faint, flowery aroma drifted into my nose from her. While experiencing a little spell of happiness, I headed to Rollodeen’s location. Rollodeen apparently took Helme and me into consideration, blocking us from sight by swinging her tail and tentacles.
Thereupon, I heard a splashing sound from behind me. Once I put down Helme and turned around…I found the semi-transparent warrior, now covered in weeds, standing over there.
Apparently he slowly made his way out of the lake’s deepest part… A thin light escaped through his visor and his gray hair looked pretty stylish.
“Your Excellency, that’s…”
“Yeah, he fought off Golgonshura with just that cross-shaped spear of his.”
A nice aroma, different from the one before, rose from Helme. It looks like she’s activated <Lapis Lazuli Flower>. I placed my hand on the hilt of Murasame that was affixed to my waist.
Should I occasionally use Murasame so as to capitalize on my new combat occupation? A sage art sword style interwoven with countless, blazing, white hands. The real Murasame might be just one blade, but it should be difficult to distinguish the real and the fake ones on a first encounter.
It’d also be possible to directly attack with the white flame hands. That would be perfect for fighting while checking the general situation.
While pondering about all that…I stared at the warrior. He was mostly covered in armor, but he also wore a torn half-hakama and black travel sandals. He was still semi-transparent as before, but probably because of the moonlight, I could see his armored upper body quite well. And him trudging through the dark shadows created by the moonlight while holding his spear in one hand was engendered by quite an impact.
The walking style that maintained a peculiar rhythm…triggered a dangerous atmosphere. Going by his aura, he reminded me of the earlobe-weirdo we fought at the Dignified Heaven Shrine. His earlobes, however, weren’t stretched long, but the warrior instantly directed his eyes at me.
His two eyes hidden behind the visor were gleaming.
But then, he returned his bloodthirsty look to the place where the black-haired girl from before was resting. I guess he guessed the place where I hid them in an instant.
In other words, a powerful connection existed between that warrior and the girl who was employing him as his master. The warrior passed Helme and me while still having weeds coiled around his body. Without paying any attention to the people Rollodeen had rescued, he nonchalantly walked over to the girl’s place while showing us his back.
“A huge warrior-sama! That must be a guardian of the Twelve Families.”
“But, I wonder whether he’s going to protect us. According to rumors, he’s a combat tool, you know?”
“…Japon’s secret weapon…”
At that point, I saw Eva flying over from the other side of the lake. As might be expected, even Eva had her fair share of troubles with carrying a huge chunk of steel. She had wrapped her violet mana, mixed with streaks of scarlet, around the business jet that lost a wing and the rear part.
I guess it’s proof of her <Mind Force> having evolved extremely.
She guided the jet to a slightly open patch of land between lake and knocked-down forest. My eyes met with hers.
――I started to run over, thinking I should help her, but she smiled at me after lightly shaking her head. Then her <Mind Force> cut off midway, probably because she got too elated. Because of the violet mana’s weakening, the jet crashed violently.
The vibration caused waves to travel across the lake, but the fallen aircraft didn’t break apart. All door parts of the jet shifted sideways. Gangways extended from beneath the doors, and even ladders extended downwards.
Several people, whose dresses were a mess, descended on the shore from there.
Without showing any interest for the people whom she had saved, Eva immediately flew over to me in her wheelchair.
“――Shuuya, there was a very dazzling, mysterious flash earlier. Showdown with the demi-goddess?”
Dazzling, huh? It didn’t seem like it to me though…
“Yep. It was a slash by Gladopalus as it butchered Golgonshura. You could call it a light of darkness caused by Golgonshura’s defeat, I suppose? Though I’m not quite sure myself. Anyway, after the battle ended, Helme collapsed. So I gave her medical treatment until a little while ago. And now things stand as you can see yourself.”
“Yes. I’m in top shape! I was saved thanks to His Excellency. Eva, you did your best as well, didn’t you?”
“Nn, the healing was water magic? In any case, both of us did our best. We defeated Golgonshura and saved many people!” Eva commented after checking Helme’s state.
With a smile, she extended a tonfa from one arm, hoisting it up.
“Aye. Eva, well done. Was that aircraft heavy?”
“Nn, a bit, but I was fine.”
“Mysty should be interested in a metallic aircraft, don’t you think? Eva, do you think it could be melted down and put to good use?”
“No. It’s different from the iron box vehicle you gave us earlier ― car was it called? ― that had magic metals sticking to it. This one here has a lot of pure iron, so Mysty might not be overly interested in it. Though I haven’t checked the interior yet, so I can’t tell for sure,” explained Eva and put her tonfa away, changing her wheelchair into metallic legs.
And then she scanned the area.
“Nn, Rollo-chan. Oh, something weird I’ve never seen before.” After smiling at Rollodeen, Eva gazed at the semi-transparent warrior.
She approached him, full of curiosity. We followed her.
“Eva, that guy fought Golgonshura on even terms. Be careful.”
It looked cool how the warrior protected the girl with a daunting pose. And he had wielded his spear at a speed close to instantaneous, fending off the attacks of Golgonshura who had repelled my <Chain>.
“Your Excellency, I’ll come into your left eye.”
Without a moment’s delay, Helme went back into my eye.
“Nn, warrior no reaction. Those girls still asleep. The girl with the round glasses is different from Mysty.”
“They seem to be deeply asleep.”
Eva didn’t attempt to touch the warrior. She probably assumed that he might attack her all of a sudden.
“Eva, fall back. For the time being, I’ll approach him and check things.”
“Nn, got it. I’ll go to the place where the other people gathered. I’ll also inform Rebecca and the others. I don’t think I’ll understand the people’s words, though…”
“Aye. Well, the intention counts at the beginning.”
Eva nodded and nimbly evaded a root with her metallic legs.
“Anyway, I guess I’ll try to get closer. Earlier he ignored us, but…”
The instant I approached the black-haired girls while saying so, the semi-transparent warrior moved, pointing his spear at me.
“I saved those girls. Can’t you understand what that means?” I asked him, but the warrior didn’t cancel his combat stance.
The arm holding the spear didn’t budge, keeping the spearhead pointed at me. A sharp glint dwelt in his two eyes. I could immediately tell that he’d cut down anyone getting close, with no questions asked.
Did this warrior have an ermine as an ancestor or something? The illusion of a mystical pipe fox was visible in his eyes…
“Well, I won’t pick any pointless fights…”
I think the warrior isn’t completely standalone, though. I can’t see any emotions in him…
I guess I’ll go back for the time being.
At that moment, “Ngh, t-this is――”
The black-haired chick woke up. She immediately turned her head around, trying to get a read on her situation. The bespectacled girl was still asleep.
Apparently having grasped the situation, the black-haired girl sat up, cladding her whole body in mana. Her mana especially accumulated at the bracelet on her wrist. The bracelet had a drawing of a mystical pipe fox.
That’s probably the reason for the illusion in the warrior’s eyes.
“Good work, Matabe. You can lower your alertness to the second level for the time being.”
His name is Matabe. How nice. Totally sounds like the name of a Warring States Commander.
Immediately after that Matabe received his order from the uniformed girl, he released mana through the gaps in his armor as if emitting gas. He seems to be linked with the girl’s abilities. Maybe as part of her and his abilities, the warrior transformed his appearance.
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