The Weakness of Beatrice the Level Cap Holy Swordswoman -
Volume 7, Chapter 4: The Hero
Volume 7, Chapter 4: The Hero
The Pure Knight with his polished silver armor and large shield let out a sigh a short distance away from the hustle and bustle of the inn town. This was not an issue of physical exhaustion. He had spent a little too much money throughout all this. Everyone was caught up in some kind of fever, but no one actually knew if the new continent really held enough intellectual property to be worth a gold rush. The competition and negotiation in the market was partially a game of chicken, but they would lose everything if the glass continent turned out to be barren and not worth a single wooden gear. In the worst case, it could even bring a major depression to the small island.
(Besides, that Iberian Orc and those Level Cappers are always a step ahead of us when it comes to that new land.)
He knew them fairly well, but not well enough to get a share of their profits. These were two different things. If he did not compete properly, he could not profit properly either.
He heard another youth call out to him from behind.
“The cargo’s all loaded. We can leave at any time!”
“The thunder’s already rumbling. Are you sure this is a good idea?”
“If you’re talking about the waterproofing, we could drop that thing in the ocean and it would be fine, so what’s a little rain? A direct lighting strike might be a different matter, though.”
“I guess worrying over it isn’t gonna help. We’ll never make back any of this money if we let the other Guilds get ahead of us again.”
“Gather the front line group on the ship. We’re leaving right away!”
The Pure Knight shouted that, but he added another comment to himself.
“We’re finally ready to move up to the front of the pack.”
Hundreds of years ago, she had killed a great many (people accused of being) witches. She had truly believed that would help the witches. And after doing all that, she had fled to the world of Ground’s Nir, but the environment had not suited her body. She had not known how to return, but after a dizzying amount of preparation time, she had finally appeared upon this glass continent with a new physical body.
The time limit in this world would still remain for her. No matter how extensive her preparations, that body could only survive a few days here.
Which meant the Hero would pour everything into those few days. She would return to Earth. She had to have some kind of plan for that. And this was the madwoman whose plan had once covered the entire planet with an artificial atmospheric barrier to terraform it with no regard for the native lifeforms.
It was blatantly obvious whether she was an enemy or an ally.
Both because of what she had done in the past and because she had not changed in the present. What she had done to Boo Boo here was everything to Beatrice. Even if that had been a necessary step.
If the Hero returned to Earth, it would begin anew.
Witch hunts were taboo now, so she might use a different term. She might even create a brand new social phenomenon. But the essence of it would remain unchanged. Whether she used social media or big data, she would continue oppressing the minority and throwing them into the fire.
Philinnion and Hermelina could also tell what was happening here.
“You’re kidding, right? Does this mean we were set up by Abyss?”
“The problem with her is she’s an ultimate weapon. We need to consider the possibility that she was hijacked by someone else.”
The silhouette inside the unnaturally red dust took a step toward them.
Beatrice reached to her back and drew the giant Shining Weapon that resembled a log or a steel beam.
She slipped her fingers through the holes opened for human use and firmly held it at the ready.
A magic circle appeared in the air behind her back.
“Philinnion, Hermelina! Protect the Gates!! Don’t let her escape this new continent!!”
“Wh-why do you always shove me onto the front line!? I am a healer!! Plus, I’m focusing on treating Boo Boo right now!”
“More importantly, keeping the Hero from Earth means slowly killing her here. Are you prepared to do that, Beatrice!?”
This was not like Demon Lord Tselika who had been born in this world. The Holy Swordswoman knew the agony of being stuck here firsthand as of a few days ago.
But she still nodded her head.
“I don’t know what the Hero wants to do once she’s back on Earth. She might experience some Urashima Tarou-esque despair upon seeing the Earth centuries later. But she assisted and intensified a social phenomenon that slaughtered people by the tens of thousands. Whatever happens, I want some assurance of safety. Even if we do let her return to Earth, I first want to make sure she’s someone we can defeat if we have to!!”
The cold rain that was cracking the glass land gradually removed the red dust from the air. And the person who had been hidden by that veil took another casual step toward them.
The secret was finally revealed.
She had short blonde hair with a bluish gradient.
She had fine white skin and a powerful will in her angled eyes.
Her waist was more slender than anything, but her ample breasts seemed to defy gravity.
Since she had only just been reborn, she wore no clothing to keep the rain off of her body.
(Are her physical abilities not being strengthened by the Percentage-type Magic since that takes the form of equipment?)
“This is our chance!”
“Wait, no, Rusalka!!”
Beatrice’s thoughts had been heading in a similar direction to Rusalka’s, but if mourning clothes Gruagach had not immediately raised her voice, what would have become of that leotard girl who held a large 9-shaped scythe and had a magic circle floating out past her empty hand?
The almost inhuman-looking naked Hero swung her right hand to the side. That hand was supposedly empty.
A moment later.
Slice? No. More like…
Had that attack reused the vanishing remains of the red membrane?
It must have been disposable by design and it burned as bright an orange as heated steel. The nails at the end of her fingers glowed unnaturally and they left parallel scratches in space itself as she charged forward.
Like an iaido expert, she passed by with a fearsomely sharp slash.
The deep boom of an explosion struck their ears after a short delay.
They had not been directly hit. If they had, they seriously might have been obliterated. Rusalka was crouching down while Gruagach protected the smaller girl. If the mourning dress girl had not taken immediate action, that would have been it. But the phenomenon occurring before Beatrice’s eyes was so strange she forgot to even call out to them.
That had been a test for the Hero.
She showed no hint of irritation at having missed.
The real attack would be coming soon.
Some things gathered around the naked woman’s right hand. They were a silver clasp, a decorative blue thread wrapped around to prevent slipping, a grip carved out of a great beast’s white fang, various decorations made from pure gold and gems, a bundle of silicon wafers and wiring thinner than hairs, and a supposedly-broken broad blade. That was the sword that had targeted Boo Boo from the ocean and absorbed his blood to create the Hero’s body.
Its role as a fuse for the red explosion was over.
The Hero’s Sword had regained its original shape and power.
“Not good!! Gruagach, focus on getting Rusalka away from there!!”
Beatrice shouted to the mourning dress girl while she adjusted her hand on her Shining Weapon’s giant grip and prepared to summon eight lines of heat. But by then, the change had already begun.
There was full-body leather innerwear that gave off a chocolate shine.
There was cushioning at the joints of the armor to prevent it from pinching the skin.
There were decorative ribbons and cloud-like bunches of wool.
There was beautiful blue armor that looked like it would blend into the color of the planet, a skirt that was left open in the front, and green-glittering decorations.
Overall, the coloration was reminiscent of the planet seen from space. The green, blue, and soil-like dark brown seemed to represent the place she had yearned for so long.
A Shining Weapon was the device a human used to control their Magic.
The green armor protecting the bottom of her chest and the blue soles of her boots were that Magic.
And as soon as that Percentage-style magic was equipped to the Hero, whose short bluish blonde hair was wetly plastered to her cheeks, it would rapidly increase her physical abilities by some factor.
The Hero did not dodge the eight simultaneous lines of heat that could slice right through a tank. They were headed straight toward her beautiful body, but the instant they touched the cleavage left exposed by the armor that represented the blue sky, they were bent and blasted in different directions.
Philinnion shouted in a panic with her shorts straining.
“How much Elemental Resistance does she have!? That attack was the Seven Flames!”
The Hero’s gaze casually followed Gruagach as she fled across the glass land while pretty much carrying Rusalka in her arms.
Yes, casually. Crushing people was no more than that to her.
Beatrice could not predict how much Magic this opponent could deflect, so with her tattered gray cloak fluttering, she instead aimed the powerful lines of heat into the space between the Hero and Gruagach.
The glass continent had already grown terribly cracked by the temperature difference brought by the rain, so it shattered in the blink of an eye as this heat propagated through it. Thanks to the heavy rainwater that had built up, the split land flipped like a seesaw, creating a giant cliff face in front of them. This would lift up and fling the Hero into the air.
“Wait, don’t let your guard down yet!!”
Gruagach had finally escaped the source of the threat with the younger girl in her arms and her braid loop swaying behind her, but Beatrice shouted back while glaring upwards.
She was looking to the very top of the cliff.
The Hero looked far too casual as she appeared there with double-edged sword in hand. That massive height difference had not been enough to launch her into the air. She spun her deadly tool like a baton and said something.
“So this is the only thing that returns to me.”
Her voice was far deeper and icier than her lovely appearance suggested. Was that a sign of how upset she was? She brushed back her blonde hair with her other hand and stared down at the rain-wet glass continent.
“Hoping for too much leads to failure. And I can get by with just this, so it all works out. That said…this could be a problem.”
“This is not enough to know if the conditions have been met. It is too soon to say how this will end. Where is the exit to Earth? I was assuming there would be some obvious tunnel or something.”
Boo Boo slowly stood up while receiving support from the giant ice gauntlet created by Wildefrau in her cross sword and belts. Philinnion’s recovery potion must not have taken effect yet. His wound was frozen like sherbet to forcibly stop the bleeding.
“What are you talking about?” he asked. “I know what you did, but if you say you aren’t like that anymore, we might not have to fight here!!”
“No, you know nothing. The more someone claims to know everything, the less they actually know, my future pork dinner.” The Hero laughed in the sensual body she had created by absorbing a certain someone’s blood. “Someone was bound to arrive here in the oh-so-distant future. So if I simply waited for the conditions to be met, someone would construct a way back for me. I must win whenever possible. And until it is possible, I will wait. I need do nothing myself. If I take what someone else has created, I can safely return. However…hey, worker ants. My theory is correct, isn’t it? Your lack of tension means this can’t have been a one-way trip for you.”
“You really think we’ll-…!”
Wildefrau was enraged, but Philinnion stopped her with a hand. That suspender boobs girl had more experience than the ice nudist.
A short distance away, Hermelina laughed it off while holding her metal staff at the ready.
“Were you hoping to get some information out of us using cheap provocation? If you want an answer, then come and get it. I don’t care if this plan has been in the works for centuries. Now that you’ve got a physical body again, you can only last a few days at the most in this world. Act above it all if you like, but you’re the one that’s in trouble stuck out in the ocean with no clue which way to go, right?”
The Hero’s short blonde hair with a blue gradient shook along with her head.
A magic circle glowed at her forehead as she answered from atop the cliff.
“Then I shall take what I need.”
In a flash.
That was the only way to describe it.
It was light.
It looked a lot like the linear light of a sword slash. The Hero in her armor and open-front skirt turned into streaming lines of blue, green, and brown as she swept toward Hermelina.
Her glowing fingernails from before were no comparison.
She was like a bolt of lightning skimming the surface.
An explosive boom arrived a moment later and more than half of the metal boat Hermelina had used as a shield was torn away. Orange sparks flew and Hermelina very nearly had her side ripped open. Distance was meaningless to someone who could move at speeds like that.
Was the sword-wielding Hero really this much more powerful than them?
A lightning strike, a fall, a plummet - call it whatever you like, the beam of light made from blue, green, and brown returned to being the Hero in her light blue skirt that was reminiscent of the waves as it fluttered above her leather innerwear. The armor surrounding the bottom of her breasts strained as if from weight. Hermelina chose not to fight it, stuck her legs out from her robe’s slits, and let the momentum of the blow push her back along the rain-slick glass land. Everyone was defenseless in the moment they landed. The Fighter Priest raised her voice while crouching low to clear a line of fire for the others.
Beatrice, Rusalka, Wildefrau, and Gruagach sent long-range attacks from four different Elements in from four different directions. Explosive booms, flashes of light, and filthy dust filled the air. Even the Sage’s mastery of all Elements had been restricted to one at a time and she would stop attacking if she had to deal with more than one at once. Elemental Resistance was easy enough to start on, but mastering it required an absurd amount of Experience Points. 100% nullifying multiple simultaneous attacks was extremely difficult.
That assumption was overturned.
“So is that all you have?”
“You’re…kidding. That didn’t even scratch her!?”
Philinnion was so shocked she stopped healing Boo Boo.
Meanwhile, Beatrice did not let up. Freezing up would not improve this unexpected turn of events.
(If there’s a trick to this, I have to keep attacking until I figure something out!!)
“Now, now. That sounds really annoying, so do you really think I’m going to play along?”
With that exasperated voice, a magic circle appeared in front of the Hero’s forehead. There was an explosion of sound and light as the Hero transformed into a planetary-colored beam of light that took a curving path toward Beatrice’s side.
Beatrice could not hope to keep up with light.
The log or steel beam of a Shining Weapon could not protect her in time, so it was instead the nearly-4m giant who held his wound and clenched his teeth as he moved forward more swiftly.
The noise was like a traffic accident. Specifically, a head-on collision with a large dump truck. But Boo Boo managed to stop the Hero. The mixture of streaming blue and green lines returned to human form and was pushed back at the last second. The tightness of tension could be seen in her exposed upper chest and thighs.
This was not a case of locked blades.
For one thing, Boo Boo no longer had a Shining Weapon.
The Hero’s Sword had dug deep into his thick arm. Red blood flowed down the blade until it stained the hilt’s gem and decorative thread and finally dripped to the wet glass ground.
Beatrice forgot all about the cold rain as a scorching heat started to fill her mind, but Boo Boo did not even look back her way.
“I don’t know what anyone means when you talk about those tricky machine things.”
“Hm. So that wasn’t enough to slice the arm clean off.”
“But you aren’t the same as Beatrice. You aren’t using Magic to deflect things. You’re more like me!!”
“Well, I am made from you.” A sticky smile appeared on the Hero’s lips as she adjusted her grip on the hilt wrapped in a green thread. “With an Iberian Orc’s absurdly powerful muscles, you can restrain most any Magic attack with brute force, can’t you? The specifics of that Red disease were unexpected, but I was placing external pressures on you to direct your evolution.”
“Surprised? Well, now that actual humans are here, I no longer need that alternate plan of creating a sturdy body that can live in this world. …I only need to torture some information out of those humans and learn how they do things. Then I can learn how to return to Earth.”
The top of her chest and the front of her skirt were left open to improve movement range and mobility, but was it also a sign that she was confident in her body?
The green armor covering the bottom of the blonde Hero’s chest strained as she shook the sword up and down while it was still embedded in Boo Boo’s arm. It was like she was widening the wound and increasing the pain.
But it would not come out.
He gathered strength in his arm to use his powerful muscles like a vise and trap the blade.
And he had his other hand.
He clenched it hard as a rock and sent it slicing through the air toward the Hero’s face from the side.
With that silly word, fresh blood flowed out.
The Hero had broken the muscular bonds to forcibly remove the double-edged sword and then she had stepped back out of the way.
But she had dodged.
Even though she had taken that simultaneous attack from Beatrice, Wildefrau, and the others head-on. Was that because she altered the Iberian Orcs’ evolution for her plan? Because the Hero had the same sort of body, could an Iberian Orc and only an Iberian Orc harm her?
“What…did you say?”
Blood dripped from Boo Boo’s arm, but there was no sign of normal fear or pain on his face.
But not because he had grown careless thanks to fluffy blonde Philinnion’s recovery potions. His emotions were much hotter, like oozing lava. He may honestly not have been feeling any pain at the moment.
He forcibly tensed his muscles and the bleeding stopped.
“What did you say you were going to do to Beatrice and the others?”
“Hm, I thought I had turned you into a gentler and more benevolent species so you were easier to use as a material, but it looks like you can put on a manly face if you try, giant piggy.”
It was true Boo Boo may have approached this differently not that long ago. He might have suffered on his own because he insisted that fighting was wrong but was unable to run away from a fight.
But he was different now.
He had found someone he was willing to risk his life to protect. And these people had worked themselves to utter exhaustion to save him. So he could no longer waste that life. He could not place himself at the bottom of the list out of a sense of self-sacrifice. He knew that would be the same as spitting on the efforts of those who had saved him.
He could be selfish.
He could be greedy.
He could direct righteous anger at anyone who attempted to smash that happiness. Befriending them or making up with them could wait until later.
He did not know if this was a good change. He may have been breaking his own rule to only kill if it was to live or to eat. He may have been falling to the level of a mere animal.
He was done laughing or sobbing.
He would not let anyone in the world take them away from him.
He had sworn it to himself.
“Say it again. What are you going to do to Beatrice and the others!?”
“Torture them to drag some information out of them. Until I have everything I need to return to Earth.”
He did not need to hear anything more.
When he stepped powerfully on the glass land, it shattered. Some pieces of the new continent floated up from the force and he grabbed a large piece in each hand. Was he inspired by the small shields some of the humans used, or by the silver trays used in the Girl’s Grill? Viewed as a tray, he grabbed them by the edge so he could use the thick jagged shards as makeshift striking weapons. The Hero spun her sword around and aimed the tip at her enemy while appearing to enjoy herself.
A gust of wind scattered the cold rain as Boo Boo and La Signora clashed head on.
Boo Boo had given up his usual partner to save Beatrice, so he no longer had a primary weapon. Both his hands were empty. He was at a terrible disadvantage against the Hero who wielded a double-edged sword likely sharp enough to sever a finger at a touch and who could transform into flowing beams of light to move around like lightning.
All assumptions were overturned by what sounded like a heavy bell ringing.
It was those shards of glass.
He was not using his fists directly, but it still might seem like those would shatter and be sliced apart in a direct clash.
But that did not happen.
A sword’s blade did not cut just by pushing against something. It gained the power to slice when it was swung forcefully down. With the Hero, the blade could always have Magic added in, but just like slicing through thin rubber with a heated wire, the length of contact determined the level of damage.
So if he hit the sword with a single attack and knocked it back instantly, its cutting edge would fail and the glass would survive. It was a lot like making constant points of impact perpendicular to the blade’s line of motion to derail it from that invisible path. Of course, this was a superhuman feat of strength and minute angle adjustments.
But at the same time, the short-haired Hero was far from normal herself.
First, there was her sword. When a blade failed to cut its target, it could chip and repeated powerful blows could even break it, but it showed no sign of even bending from the constant blows from the Iberian Orc’s giant arms. Also, even if the sword itself was sturdy…no, the sturdier the sword was, the more of the impacts would reach its wielder. It was the same idea as a solid car and a soft car. This would have shattered a normal human’s wrists or shoulders, but the Hero in the cleavage-exposing green armor kept a thin smile on her face.
Both of them were extraordinary.
They had not held a strategy meeting or exchanged any kind of sign via eye contact or hand signals, but while Boo Boo moved forward, Beatrice made attacks of her own in order to support him. While he blocked the Hero’s view with his giant body, she sent lines of heat past his head, below his arms, or around his hips to attack the Hero from a blind spot.
She did not need to land a fatal blow.
She did not care if these attacks were all deflected.
She just needed to distract the Hero enough for Boo Boo to get a direct hit on La Signora whose appearance represented the sky, the land, and the sea.
“Heh heh heh hah!”
Just as the Hero’s Sword twirled around like a baton, all of the ultra-high-speed heat lines were shot down. Beatrice did not let the result bother her. The Hero had not just taken the hit, but that was a sign she wanted to focus on her clash with Boo Boo. She needed all her strength to deal with the equally-strong mass of muscle in front of her.
So what did Beatrice need to do if she wanted to distract the Hero even further?
After some thought, she gave a shout with her tattered gray cloak fluttering.
“Huldra! Prepare your claws!!”
“Your attacks have a percentage chance of insta-killing the target regardless of damage level, right? So the Hero’s tough body, HP, and VIT don’t matter! And, Philinnion, prepare a recovery potion! Heal Boo Boo’s wounds to keep his strength up!! Throw the test tube at him when the timing is right!!”
Pink magic circles appeared in the air near the pink-twintailed girl’s wrists and then her Shining Weapon metal claws poked out from her pompoms.
The Hero’s eyes wavered a bit while she swung her sword almost too quickly to follow with the naked eye. Boo Boo was right in front of her, but she was unsure what her primary target should be.
…Of course, if this really was their crucial plan, they would not shout it so loudly in front of the enemy. They only needed to increase their theoretical options so the Hero had a harder time deciding what to do. This short clash had been enough for Beatrice to realize only Boo Boo could get in a meaningful attack here. The question was how to help him do that. That had to be her focus.
“Hermelina, Wildefrau, Rusalka! Get your Screenshots ready! One of you get to the top of the cliff while the other two take up positions in a cross formation. If we observe her from all three axes, we can figure out her patterns of behavior and predict what she’ll do. Switch to high-speed filming mode to get footage at 10,000 frames a second and tell Boo Boo whatever you figure out about her idiosyncrasies! And, Gruagach, contact Demon Lord Tselika!! If you see an opening, hit the Hero with an attack. Tselika’s power can break through Iberian Orc level muscles!!”
Standing there gawking was not going to help. Both sides of this fight had never met the other before. And the Hero had been resurrected after centuries, so she would not know how far human technology had progressed. Even with the standard Gate, it sounded like she had predicted something like it but had never actually seen one. If they could trip up the Hero, confuse her, and slow her decision making to help Boo Boo as much as possible, they would consider that a huge success.
Bluffs were fine and it did not matter if they were no match for her strength. With a battle at this level, they were not going to stick to 1-on-1. They would not give up and they would not abandon Boo Boo no matter what.
This was a Party battle.
The Hero had challenged him on her own, but he was not alone. The girls here would not allow it. No matter how ridiculously powerful their opponent was, they would not abandon their precious allyl!!
“In that case.” After some sticky laughter, the Hero’s sword tip shifted slightly away from Boo Boo. “I will take the opposite tack. I will nip every threat in the bud until you are alone once more.”
She was clearly preparing to send a beam of light in that direction, but Boo Boo moved in the way. Yes, it did not matter if it was possible or not. If he missed even one shot, one of his precious friends would die. …With that fear and concern planted in him, she could hold him in place. During a battle fought at dizzying speeds, a nonexistent grim reaper bound both their hearts and pushed them onward.
They were both risking their lives, but they could not fight at their own pace in this game of chicken.
The Hero, who wore an ocean blue skirt over chocolate-colored leather, may have interpreted her elevated heartbeat as a pleasure signal because she laughed like some gauge’s needle had swung too far to one side.
“Ha ha ha! Ah ha ha ha ha ha!! I see, I see!! So that’s it, is it!?”
“Don’t let her get to you, Boo Boo! We can protect ourselves, so you focus on overpowering the Hero!!”
Beatrice roared back.
And she actually had a good reason for telling him that.
The Hero was making the psychological effort needed to convert her tension into elation. That meant the fear would have ensnared her if she had not forced her way through it. She would not have done that with an insignificant amount of pressure.
Boo Boo attacked with the solid glass trays that he held by the edge. Striking the Hero’s Sword with those was not enough to break that Shining Weapon. But so what? Who said he had to handle this alone?
They did not need to prearrange their timing.
The nearly-4m pig-faced giant clashed with the extraordinary blade, but not just once this time. When his one blunt weapon deflected the sword, the other one targeted it from the side. Beatrice released explosive flames at the same time. They drew a large arc toward the opposite side of the Hero’s Sword.
It was like holding the weapon in a giant vise.
The scream of straining metal rang from the Hero’s hands.
Before it broke, the Hero’s Sword flew up into empty air like someone letting go of the spring compressed between their fingers. Even if she knew nothing of the Gates, that device had to be the source of her Magic.
She must not have wanted it destroyed because she let go when it approached its limit.
But once she let go, it was all over.
The Percentage-style Magic that was her clothing would not disappear so easily, but she would no longer be able to make commands and actively shoot that deadly Magic. An Iberian Orc’s bodily tissue controlled by human cunning was still a threat, but her strength was equal to Boo Boo’s. They could overpower her now if Beatrice and the others supported him while he continued grappling.
This was what they had been waiting for.
“Now’s our chance!!”
The red-armored, white-miniskirted, and gray-cloaked Holy Swordswoman raised her voice in a roar as their close-range specialists of Hermelina and Huldra made their move. Beatrice also shifted to close-range along with Wildefrau who switched from her large ice sword to her main cross sword. Those two delayed their move by a single beat to pursue and finish off the Hero if she managed to avoid the other attacks.
Rusalka’s wind and Gruagach’s bow provided support from long range.
Many different magic circles glowed on the battlefield.
And Boo Boo stood at the very front.
(We need to finish this here! Before she can reclaim her Shining Weapon!!)
A vivid blue, green, and brown light gave a roar.
The Hero’s colors of land, sea, and sky streaked through the air to rule this world.
Even Beatrice’s body locked up with surprise. This was not possible. The Hero’s Sword was a Shining Weapon, so it was the source of the Hero’s Magic. The passive Percentage-style clothing was one thing, but she should not have been able to use her offensive Magic like this.
“Beatrice, you dumbass! Get down instead of standing there like-…!!”
Skintight priest robed Hermelina was cut off.
The Hero herself seemed to turn into light. It did not matter that there was a metal staff in the way. The staff was crushed and Hermelina was knocked backwards after receiving a tackle from what looked like streaming lines of planetary colors. She was the physical attack specialist of the humans, so if she had been overpowered without any trickery, then the other girls could not hope to defend themselves.
“I win whenever possible.”
The threat returned to being a woman.
Boo Boo could not cover for all of them at once.
A magic circle glowed in front of her forehead. She had begun picking them off in turn.
“So I will not hold back. If you are there before my eyes, I have no reason at all not to reach out and snatch you up.”
Her silhouette broke apart once more.
That had not been a fluke. She could clearly use Magic even without her Shining Weapon.
In this unpredictable crisis, Beatrice took action as if leaving a dying message. She used her Screenshot function to save some high-speed footage. She gradually revealed the details that could not be seen by the naked eye.
A rectangular frame floated in the air to display the emptyhanded Hero bringing her index and middle fingers together and moving them in some sort of pattern in front of her exposed cleavage.
Thinking back to when the Hero had first appeared, the sword with the gem in the hilt had shattered after destroying itself as a fuse for the red box and the tree contained inside. That meant she had been in no position to use Magic via a Shining Weapon, so how had she made those high-speed slashes and returned her sword to normal? If it all came from the Shining Weapon, she should have been done for.
So to put it another way…
Was that sword not the source of the Hero’s Magic?
(It can’t be…)
“She doesn’t use the video game system? Does she have some other method of using Magic!?”
As if to support that horrifying theory, Hero La Signora licked her lips, transformed into the planetary colors of blue, green, and brown, and charged toward Beatrice.
A short distance from the blast site, Alchemist Cheerleader Huldra lay face down on the glass continent as the chilly rain poured down. While making sure she did not drown in a puddle, she slowly got up so as not to make a sound.
She was a Level Capper like Beatrice and Hermelina, but she had not focused her Parameters on combat. It sometimes took some effort on her part to survive on the first line.
She would jump backwards herself to reduce the shock of an attack as much as possible.
She would play dead to intentionally leave herself on the ever-moving battlefield.
(Sigh. That was unexpected. I thought I was dead for sure. C’mon, my specialty is luck-reliant insta-kill attacks, so I can’t keep up with those insane head-on clashes. If I don’t hurry up, the chief and the others really will be slaughtered. Hmm, I maneuvered myself into a blind spot, but how am I supposed to stab her in the side?)
Huldra was not exactly strong, but that led her toward harsher decisions at times like this. When there was a clear line drawn between enemy and ally, she would give up on the enemy to help her allies. Without hesitation. That stance was clear from her focus on insta-kill attacks that ignored damage levels and could not be used as a mere threat. She was not the same as Hermelina who would use a nonlethal attack to peacefully resolve things with an armed enemy that truly intended to kill her.
“Hey, what the hell are you doing here?”
She jumped slightly when a gruff voice called out to her from the side. Professionals would not let themselves be fazed while at work, but being disturbed while defenselessly preparing backstage was still a frightening thing.
She slowly turned around to see a young man in polished silver armor wielding a large shield. He and a few subordinates were approaching her.
“Oh, if it isn’t the Pure Knight.”
“Don’t bother getting flirty. It feels so fake from you. It’s all so perfect it doesn’t seem real.”
He used a jocular tone just in case he was wrong, but he had a sharp eye and instincts.
He had been a low-ranking member, but he had belonged to Elkiad, a Guild made of former Western soldiers. Looking at the entire Guild, he had been little more than a thug hired here in Ground’s Nir, but he was still no amateur.
…As you can see, the Alchemist Cheerleader and Pure Knight knew each other.
And that went back to before Boo Boo’s desperate plea to save Beatrice. Most likely, his direct superior Hermelina and her colleague Gruagach were unaware of this connection.
To repeat, Huldra was not exactly strong.
She needed as many horizontal connections as possible to act as lifelines if she was to survive the harsh counterintelligence operations she was tasked with. In battles between professionals, precious data did not rain from the heavens for free.
“You aren’t stranded here, are you?”
“The situation is more complicated than that. Oh, and I’m sure you can hear all that firepower over there, but don’t even think about taking a peek at the blast site if you want to live to see another day.”
“What, did your Party have a falling out or something?”
The Pure Knight reached that conclusion because he assumed this barren glass land would not have any other living things on it.
“Does that mean you came across some kinda treasure valuable enough to fight over? Is it an ore or something with medicinal properties? Or are you using the land itself as real estate? Whatever the case, I can’t wait to see how this ugly glass continent is gonna make us rich. …Hey! Find a good spot and set up a base. We’ve gotta get started!!”
Huldra tilted her head with her butt planted (in a very girly fashion) on the wet ground as the subordinates waiting behind the Pure Knight set down a heavy-looking bag. They pulled out some metal poles and a thick waterproof fabric that reminded Huldra of a tent.
As it gradually took form, her entire body tensed up.
The Pure Knight looked quite pleased with himself, so he must not have realized the situation here.
That right there was the item the Hero most desired after being resurrected centuries later. Its presence would greatly change the situation as a whole.
“We got delayed securing a full set, but now we’ll take the top spot in the development race. Check it out: It’s a Gate! Now we have a new Save Point and we don’t need to return to the island’s inn town every single time! We can take a shortcut straight here while we explore and mine this place. We can make our own second base right here on the glass continent!!”
“Y-y-y-you goddamn morooooooooooooooooooooooons!!!!!”
Beatrice’s shoulders rose and fell as she gasped for breath in the cold rain. Her respiratory system and stamina were being greatly enhanced by Magic, but she was still being worn down.
(How many have been taken out of the fight? Ugh, and where am I?)
“Boo Boo, can you keep fighting?”
They were down a lot of fighters, but they did not need to take a pessimistic view. Even if there was a lethal amount of blood where they had fallen, this was a world with plenty of Magic beyond human understanding. As long as White Witch Philinnion was safe and could care for the others, it was possible they could return to the fight.
How effective were Philinnion’s recovery potions? For now, Boo Boo seemed to be doing well enough despite the stab wounds to his gut and arm.
Glass fell from Boo Boo’s hands. But not in big pieces. They had finally succumbed to the impacts and shattered, lacerating Boo Boo’s palms in the process.
“Heh heh. Looks like I’m almost there.”
Rain dripped from the Hero’s bluish-blonde hair as she smiled thinly and lightly swept her right hand to the side in its blue gauntlet. A glow like melted metal surged from the fingertips and a trail of light followed them like a shooting star.
She had not fundamentally changed.
She had once aided the witch hunts and she had nearly destroyed two worlds with the artificial atmospheric barrier and the Red-afflicted Iberian Orcs. Her mere presence was bound to bring many victims no matter which world she was in.
“Since you wish to keep me here, what I seek must exist elsewhere. I still do not know where that is, but I should find out if I corner you further. You are bound to tell me while tearfully begging for your lives. Act tough all you like, but you will be forced to use your own body as a shield in the end.”
“You…” groaned Boo Boo while spreading his arms wide to threaten her. “Why do you insist on doing this the hard way? If you stopped being mean, promised not to hurt anyone, and asked everyone for help, there might have been another way.”
It was possible Boo Boo could only say that since he had gone to the inn town alone, bowed to the humans there, and asked them to risk their lives to help save Beatrice. He may never have considered it back when he only viewed the festivals from atop that hill.
“That is not an option.”
But the Hero was quick to answer while her large chest rose and fell in a sigh.
Her tone of voice easily tore down what Boo Boo had built up.
“I have a time limit. You are well aware of that Achilles’ heel, aren’t you? How can I expect a fair negotiation when you hold such a critical card against me? You could make endless impossible demands or you could let go at the last second. If attempting a fair negotiation means accepting those risks, then fairness can go right out the window. It would be much faster and more certain to crush you with overwhelming force until you comply.”
This was different.
This was fundamentally different from Boo Boo’s reason for avoiding the humans.
There was no chance of cooperation here.
Instead of leaving herself, she pushed away everything around her.
Her own survival came first, so anything standing before her was declared evil and crushed. She would cross between worlds to accomplish the goal she had set for herself.
That title referred to one of great courage.
But that courage may have been what let her shake off all hesitation and doubt as she became a pure incarnation of violence.
She would win whenever possible.
Hero La Signora was an insane sort of strongest who did not even consider what her victories would cause. She had even lent her strength toward continuing a slaughter with tens of thousands of victims. If things had been just a little different, Beatrice had never met Boo Boo, and she had found nothing but power to rely on, she might have ended up like this.
Steam and shimmering heat rose from Beatrice’s shoulders as the cold rain hit her. The flames she controlled were manifesting with the intent to kill.
She enlarged her empty left hand using slag and placed it on the Shining Weapon’s grip.
“That’s enough, Boo Boo.”
“Hero, I don’t know exactly how far you journeyed or how dizzyingly long you waited for this day, but let me tell you one thing. You stand at the turning points and win whenever possible? You can wait centuries, but you still won’t receive limitless freedom.”
Her mere presence spread death and chaos.
She may have been an even deeper and darker incarnation of death than the Underworld Lord who had systematically processed lives.
“This is not your world. And Earth isn’t your world alone. If you don’t understand that, then the result will be the same in either world. You will never be satisfied.”
It was said a drowning person would grasp at straws and that may have been true.
But Beatrice had that right as well.
When she had lost her Shining Weapon and wandered on the verge of death in this world just like a certain someone else had, she had rejected other options like Vampirism or cold sleep. She had not found fault with the world around her and she had not demanded it die to save her. Death is an extreme situation. That great threat reveals who someone really is deep down. But Beatrice’s own experience proved that the revelation was not always an ugly one.
“Hero, maybe you got carried away because you feared death.”
Boo Boo had been the same.
He had wanted to do whatever it took to save Beatrice, but he had had not been able to harm a single person to accomplish that. He had instead bowed down, borrowed Shining Weapons from so many people, and ultimately roasted his own body to protect that girl’s life.
That was who he really was.
Both Beatrice and Boo Boo had not gone astray at the very, very end. They had stayed true to themselves.
Death was no reason to trample on other people.
“No matter what methods you chose, you can’t shove responsibility onto someone else. The time limit? Your Achilles’ heel? Don’t make me laugh. Everything you have here is the end result of your many evil deeds, you murderer.”
“Is that all you wanted to say?”
The Hero scoffed while orange light surged from the end of the right hand she held out parallel.
This was not enough to shake her at this point.
“Surely you know a silly plea to emotion isn’t going to make me go easy on you. I want to go home, I want to go home, oh how I want to go home! When I escaped here, I never expected it would be such a peaceful execution ground. No one told me it was a public execution site that slowly but surely robs you of your life!! How is that fair!? They lied. I was tricked. I am the victim here. I did nothing wrong. Yes, yes. Why would I have ever come here if I had known what it was beforehand!? I win whenever possible, I win whenever possible, I win whenever possible! That is my motto and here I am taking action, so go bring me my victory. This place is the worst, but if it isn’t at least a little better than before, then this was all meaningless! How did it get even worse!? I demand a redo! Why are you showing this place off like it’s great? Are you insane!? Aren’t you going to pursue real happiness? Why, why, why does nothing ever go right!?”
This was different again from the Sage who had wielded great power for her own purposes but had been entirely focused on the Iberian Orcs. The Hero had not mentioned a parent, a child, a brother, a sister, a lover, a friend, a teacher, or a student. She only talked about herself. Beatrice had been trapped in the Detached Magic Palace and physically cut off from establishing relationships, but this woman looked empty even to her.
No matter what happened to the Hero after this, she was sure to continue shouting forever. On Earth, in Ground’s Nir, or in any other world she might find, the same dissatisfaction would explode within her.
She would not find what she was looking for.
And she would kill thousands or even millions in her pursuit of what she could never find.
She would barge into a world and, if it was not to her liking, she would smash that world to pieces. And with her, that was not ju.
To be continued, please go to 𝚒𝚗𝚗𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚍.𝚌𝚘𝚖 to read the full chapter.
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