Translator(s): Yomigaeru Editor(s): Yuzuha Proofreader(s): Yomigaeru
「Wha…? T-The royal capital has fallen!?」
「The evil god has been resurrected…!? A-And moreover the succubus yet lives…!? G-Give me the details!」
The evil god was revived. And furthermore by the succubus, who should have turned to stone…? The saint was just saying something about night service, but she too switches her expression and demands an explanation from the knight.
「T-The details are unclear, but according to the testimony of the knights who came from the royal capital… the evil god suddenly appeared at the royal capital, sealed off all entry and exit with barrier magic, then instantly left the royal capital and commenced an attack on this city of Merhatz…!」
「He is heading towards this city!? And moreover he used large-scale stationary barrier magic!? D-Does that mean it is the genuine evil god!?」
Large-scale barrier magic.
…Within the Bible, I read about the evil god using that once. If I recall correctly, it’s magic where a huge pattern is inscribed on the ground, then everything within its range gets cuts off from the outside world. Though it takes time to set up, once it’s invoked the effect is tremendous. Until the evil god releases it, nobody can undo it. It was supposedly an extraordinarily troublesome spell.
But… that resurrected evil god blockaded the royal capital, and he’s heading towards this labyrinth city…?
「W-What does that mean…?」
–The questions keep coming.
First, didn’t the succubus get petrified? The distance from this labyrinth city to the royal capital is far enough that it takes a few days even by dragon. Taking into account the advancement of the succubus’ petrification from what I previously saw, she shouldn’t have managed to reach the royal capital by any stretch of the imagination. And the saint was also saying that there are no priests around here capable of using EX Heal other than me and her.
Besides, how did they end up allowing the evil god to be revived? The royal capital should’ve had strict security in place around the evil god’s seal. Even if the succubus brought along monsters and attacked, the royal capital wouldn’t fall so easily, and if she went in alone she shouldn’t have been able to somehow bypass the security easily either.
「…H-Hey, in the royal capital, weren’t there jewels not just for the evil god, but for the rest of his apostles too?」
「Yes, distributed in several places, but they were being kept under strict guard…」
Then why did he take such wishy-washy measures and leave the royal capital in limbo by blockading it with a barrier, to come march on this labyrinth city? If he had seized the royal capital, the country would no longer be able to fulfill its duties as a country. Besides, if he had combed the capital to search for the other apostles’ sealing gems, he should have been able to find a few of them. I don’t really understand the merit of leaving that place so far behind and going out of his way to march on this labyrinth city.
「The evil god and the succubus are advancing towards this labyrinth city, gathering monsters along the way… t-they are already approaching at two days’ distance.
…And moreover, in exchange for guaranteeing the safety of the royal capital, the evil god is demanding that Sage-sama be brought before him, alone…!」
「T-To hand over Shiki-sama…!? …I-Is that what it comes down to…?」
「Now I get it… so the royal capital is being held hostage…?」
The knight’s remark cancels out my one doubt. The reason the evil god expressly blockaded the royal capital was to use it in exchange for me?
…Most likely, the evil god is aiming for certain victory. The Sage is the only one with the capability to oppose the evil god. In order to kill me quickly and without resistance, he’s holding the royal capital hostage and advancing towards this labyrinth city. In the case that we don’t obey, I’m sure he’ll have some device to blow up the interior of that barrier or something with large-scale magic.
The fact that knights came here from the royal capital is also probably because the evil god intentionally allowed them to escape in order to serve as his messenger.
「I-I will… I will protect you, Master!」
Perhaps because she heard something like “hand me over to the evil god”, Yuel draws a knife. Then she forces her way in front of the knight and the saint in order to protect me.
「Please calm down!」
The saint gets flustered when Yuel points the blade at her. Before I notice, Astel wedges herself between the saint and Yuel as well. Yuel and Astel, pointing knives at each other. The atmosphere is touch-and-go.
「I-I have no intention of handing over Shiki-sama in resignation! If we lose Shiki-sama as the Sage, humanity will lose its only means of opposing the evil god. And should we hand over Shiki-sama, we cannot be sure that the royal capital will truly be returned unharmed. M-Moreover, the authenticity of this information has not yet been confirmed.」
「Yuel, I’m fine. Relax.」
I grab hold of Yuel’s knife hand and move her behind me. Incidentally, I also reach behind my back to pet her head.
…The saint wouldn’t actually present me to the evil god. At the very least, without me, it’s doubtful whether they could even win against the succubus’ monster troops alone. The royal capital has already been isolated and taken hostage. Considering humanity as a whole, we should abandon it at this point. And I think that the saint is most likely the type who’s capable of such thoughts, even from her standpoint as the archbishop of said royal capital.
…As I’m patting Yuel’s silky hair, a single thought comes to mind.
I’ve been thinking about it ever since I heard that the succubus resurrected the evil god. How did she heal her petrification?
–And I land on a single person who might have been capable of healing it.
「Hey… by some chance, what if the one who healed the succubus was that baldy bishop? If that guy could use EX Heal, couldn’t he have healed the succubus and intentionally let her get away to make Philine lose her position or something?」
The saint was saying that she and I are the only people in this area who can use EX Heal. But what about that bishop, who came by this city afterwards? If it was that bishop, he might have been able to cure the succubus.
What if, after that raid with the Light Eaters, the succubus didn’t escape right away, but stayed close and waited for an opportunity? It’s possible that she was observing the conversation between the saint and the bishop. The succubus’ true strength is perceiving people’s desires and taking advantage of them.
…At that time, when the bishop was fuming at the saint, she might have targeted him.
「C-Certainly, he might have had a motive to heal the succubus… but that bishop could only use High Heal at best. Healing her petrification would be extremely…」
The saint states in bewilderment. Looks like I guessed wrong. I figured that the bishop might have intentionally healed the succubus and let her get away in order to ensnare the saint. As I’m mulling it over, there’s a voice from my side.
「Master, I think that petrification could be cured even with High Heal.」
It’s Yuel. Even High Heal can cure petrification? Does she mean that by using High Heal, the spread of the petrification can be suppressed? I haven’t heard anything like that, though.
「Thinking of myself as the succubus and Master as the evil god… if it was in order to revive Master, I think I would do it.」
Yuel says with a tragic expression. That harsh expression makes me realize.
–No, but, she couldn’t possibly…
「If I was the succubus, I would cut off my own leg, and have it regenerated with High Heal.」
Then Yuel asserts that.
…Don’t tell me she really ended up comparing herself to the succubus? Yuel is making a slightly sorrowful expression. Well, from the standpoint of working hard for the sake of their master, the two of them do have something in common. And their appearances are a bit similar as well. But I don’t want her feeling any sympathy or compassion for an apostle of the evil god who actually spent tens of thousands of years killing humans in biblical times.
「Remove the petrified portion along with the leg, and heal the missing leg with High Heal… I-If that is indeed the case, it would not be strange for the succubus to go on living… however, I could have sworn that the succubus’ petrification was quite profound… at the time of that attack, it might very well have spread to a portion of her torso…」
The saint’s shoulders shudder a little.
…Cutting off a leg is easier said than done. Injuring one’s own flesh requires sufficient determination. Moreover, in that succubus’ case, I doubt she could have detached the petrified portion without dismembering her leg up to its very base, the hip joint.
…No matter how much vitality an apostle of the evil god is purported to have, if she cut off her leg at the hip, very close to her torso, there would’ve been the possibility of death. And it’s not like the succubus can use healing magic herself, so she had no definitive guarantee that her leg would be returned to normal after she cut it off. She must have known that if she couldn’t get it healed, she would die of blood loss.
「…She sure is tenacious.」
I don’t know what makes the succubus go so far, but she must have wanted to revive the evil god at any cost.
「With the bishop’s cooperation, it would have been a simple matter to find her way to the evil god’s seal as well.
…Most likely, like the time with Shiki-sama, he might have been deceived and even offered to become an apostle. That bishop is a man of high pride, after all… I suppose that losing to me would have been more unbearable for him than leading the world to ruin…」
The saint reflects regretfully.
…As for the succubus, she has no reason to make him one of her followers. Setting aside whether I have good compatibility with succubus-degree abilities, that bishop is just a priest who can use a little healing magic. Most likely, in the case that he was deceived, he’s no longer alive. And being able to use up to High Heal, he must have had a fair amount of mana, so it’s also possible that he was used as a sacrifice for reviving the evil god.
A knight presses the saint as she’s hanging her head with a sullen face. And the evil god is already nearing this labyrinth city; it’s a race against time. I guess he wants her to hurry and give out orders.
「…Indeed, this is no time for regret. I shall go and ask the knights who supposedly came from the royal capital about the situation. And thereafter, consult with Lord-sama… it will most likely take the form of calling for reinforcements from the nearby towns again. Shiki-sama, please remain on standby in this room.
…Astel! You go and alert the knights guarding the ramparts. They are to report immediately should they discover anything unusual.」
And, declaring that, the saint quickly exits the room.
I’ve been told to remain in my room.
…Most likely, if I were to go out, it would be unfavorable in many ways. And I’m sure there are plenty of folks with friends and relatives in the royal capital. Abandoning the royal capital would not be such an easy decision to make. The saint assuredly intends to hang onto me and stand up against the evil god, but for a while it may be difficult to unify the will of this city as well.
「Master… will it be alright…?」
Perhaps worried about the knights frantically running around outside the room, Yuel asks me with an anxious face.
…To be honest, if I had to say whether it’s alright or not, it’s totally not alright. Even if we call for reinforcements right now, how many knights can we possibly assemble? Most likely, the best we could do wouldn’t even amount to half of the number of knights that showed up last time. Now that the royal capital is being held hostage, we may as well already be caught in checkmate.
「It’s alright. You don’t need to worry at all, Yuel.」
But for now, I’ll reassure her. And it’s not like we’ve lost yet. Even with hardly any knights, as long as we have my healing magic, we may still be able to turn the tables on the evil god and the succubus.
「For the time being, let’s do what we can.」
I reach for the Bible.
…I have a good grasp of the succubus’ abilities, but frankly I don’t really understand the abilities of the evil god who she supposedly resurrected. It’s written that magic is his forte, but in what I’ve read so far, there wasn’t much about what he can do or what sort of weak points he has, that type of combat-applicable knowledge. I need to understand that. I start flipping through the Bible.
The moment of the decisive battle between the evil god and the former Sage. On the opposite page, there’s an illustration of the cane-wielding Sage and a female swordsman who appears to be the Hero. The circumstances seem to be that, while the apostles and monsters were in the midst of capturing the surrounding major cities, the Sage led a great host of 10,000 against the isolated headquarters of the evil god. When I read it in detail, the Sage apparently divided his army into a huge diversionary force and an ambush unit of a select few led by the Sage himself, and they each attacked the evil god from opposite sides. It’s written that the diversionary force headed in a straight line towards the evil god through the open plains, while the ambush unit hid among the trees and approached beneath the evil god’s notice.
However, reading the next sentence, I can’t believe my eyes.
–Before a few minutes had elapsed, the diversionary force was annihilated. The army of close to 10,000 soldiers was nearly wiped out by a single direct hit from the evil god’s large-scale attack magic. Even when the surviving soldiers spread out to assault the evil god, there was nothing they could do against the excessive range of his devastating attack magic, and they were annihilated. It’s written that nothing was left in their place but numerous craters and swirling clouds of dust.
「Offensive-type, large-scale magic, huh…?」
Outside of attack magic, the evil god can also use barrier magic like the one he placed over the royal capital.
…A large-scale magic expert. That’s probably an apt description. Sounds like the kind of wizard I would most likely turn out to be if I learned how to use all different types of magic.
–He’s a complete upgrade over me, huh…
But such an evil god was sealed by the former Sage. Holding out hope, I continue reading.
The ambush unit led by the Sage slipped into the cloud of dust and drew near to the evil god, immediately engaging in a close-quarters battle with him. Over the span of a few pages, the Bible describes the grand duel between the Hero and the evil god.
But there’s no mention of magic being used within it.
…I might have figured out one of the evil god’s weak points. The weakness of the evil god who uses large-scale magic is being forced to fight at close range. If the enemy gets right up in his face, he won’t be able to use magic that could possibly swallow himself up along with it.
Now I get it. That means we can make a surprise attack, creep up close to our opponent so he can’t use magic, and win in close-quarters combat? Well, that’s how it is with things like wizards. Get close to them and they’re finished, no big deal.
However, when I turn the page.
–The Hero was cut down by the evil god.
And apparently it’s not like the evil god used some sort of magic to give himself an advantage. It seems that the Hero, the one known as the strongest swordsman of that era, was defeated simply via pure sword technique.
「You gotta be kidding me…」
He’s the strongest class even in melee combat…? Oh man, no wonder he’s called the evil god.
Whether it’s at long range or short, it seems like we have no shot at winning against the evil god. As far as why the Sage was able to seal the evil god, apparently he capitalized on the momentary opening when that Hero was cut down to set off the sealing magic.
–Let’s consider the contents of what I just read.
If we gather allies and fight the evil god head-on, we will no doubt suffer enormous damage from his large-scale attack magic. And the win percentage is most likely not high.
Even going with a surprise attack, he possesses sword technique that surpassed even the strongest swordsman of the era. Success won’t be very easy.
…Isn’t this hopeless?
The former Sage’s fighting method isn’t one that we can reproduce now. I don’t have something like sealing magic where one direct hit is an instant win. Besides, fighting by throwing away an army of over 10,000 as a diversion would be too severe, both from a material perspective and a psychological one.
Like the time with the succubus, the saint most likely intends to gather knights, make use of my healing magic, and pull through somehow with that method.
…But that will most likely prove to be difficult. Against the large-scale magic of the evil god, my healing magic is powerless. Their fragile human bodies will end up evaporating before I even get a chance to use healing magic. If large-scale magic is used, I likely won’t be able to save the knights caught within its range.
Even before we get close enough to be in range of his large-scale magic, the succubus is there. The swarm of monsters she’s bringing should slow the knights’ advance. Against the evil god’s massive firepower, heals won’t possibly make it in time. And even if by some minuscule chance we do manage to get close, the evil god himself is a peerless swordsman. There’s no chance of victory in the first place.
…And that evil god is already close enough that he’ll arrive in two days.
My face must be looking rather pale; Yuel calls out to me.
「Y-Yeah, it’s alright. T-This city has me backing it up. You don’t need to worry, Yuel.」
I deceive her for now, but in the end it’s not alright. At least if the succubus and the evil god were coming separately, we could manage somehow. With the succubus’ monster forces at the evil god’s side, we can’t possibly pull off a surprise attack. I don’t think there’s any method to defeat the evil god other than a sudden strike, though. I get the feeling there’s nothing I can do to break this stalemate.
But it’s not like I can give up trying to think. Being unable to win against the evil god means that Eris and Ruruka, and also Yuel, will continue to be exposed to danger. Somehow, some way, I have to do something.
As I’m racking my brain, my throat becomes dry before I notice. I stuff my hand into my item box for some water to drink. And my hand touches a certain something. I suddenly realize.
–I might have found a method to defeat the evil god.
If I head over to the evil god “by myself”, maybe I can use this. With this method, none of the knights will be sacrificed in vain, either. I’ll settle everything on my own.
A shot at victory. As that thought lifts my spirits, I feel like a little weight is lifted off my hips. But then there’s a sensation tightly tugging on those lightened hips.
「Master… I will, I will absolutely protect you. No matter what happens, I will protect you without fail.
…So please, don’t go by yourself, ok?」
Yuel pleads, as if she was reading my mind. She’s clinging to me from behind, trembling a little.
I was surprised over why she would say something like that… but most likely, it’s that.
…Back during that magic practice, when my mana was going out of control, Yuel was there. And the saint was also saying that when all that mana runs amok, it has a dreadful power to it that could vaporize an entire mountain. It might have looked like I was going to try and force a draw with the evil god using that haywire mana.
…But I’m not one to do something like blow myself up. And I have no desire to die. I haven’t done anything with Eris or Ruruka yet. And besides, if Yuel ends up being left alone, she’ll definitely cry.
I won’t die, and neither will the knights. I’m only taking the very best approach I can think of to defeat the evil god.
「…Of course not. What could I possibly do if I go alone? Besides, I’m a total coward. I wouldn’t so readily go to face the evil god by myself.」
「Master, you have exposed yourself to danger countless times in order to save someone. You are an incredibly respectable, very very brave person.」
When I retort, Yuel clutches my clothes tightly and says that. I can sense her will to never let go.
「It’s alright. I’m right here beside you, Yuel.」
…Well, I’m gonna go though.
This strategy most likely has a high win rate. Furthermore, precisely because of this timing, it’s extremely likely to work. If I let this chance go, we may not be able to win against the evil god anymore. And if that happens, I’ll be killed by the evil god anyway.
「…Do you mean it?」
「I mean it. Yuel’s master wouldn’t lie, right?」
Master doesn’t tell lies. Thus far, in front of Yuel anyway, I’ve been a perfectly honest, kind, and respectable master. Knowing Yuel, if I say so, she should believe me.
「Yuel, until the saint calls on us, let’s take a nap. Who knows when something will come up.」
And, as I tell Yuel that, I decide to get into the futon along with her.