Chapter 196 Strongest Sage, Breaks Through Siege
『Everyone, are you ready?』
『Ready when you are!』
After confirming their responds, I slightly loosen up the mana control spell I put on Iris.
『Got it. I've loosened up Iris's mana bind, so the demons should be coming here soon... Our comm magic may get disconnected in the middle of combat if we get separated, when that happens, move at your own discretions while making sure to stay hidden from the demons.』
Even though my comm magic's range is wider than ever before, I'm still a Disqualified Crest after all. It cannot reach that far.
If Ruli were in the charge of comm magic, she could likely cover the entire area, but then the demons might find out.
And while we were discussing with comm magic--the demons made their move.
Looks like they're coming here to check things up.
The sub-demons don't seem to deem Iris to be a threat for the time being, they've only dispatched two.
...Of course, I've adjusted the released mana to make this happen.
『Only two of them are coming here...』
『Yeah... Though it seems around five of them are observing the situation, they'll rush here if anything happens.』
I move to the demons' blind spot while hiding my mana.
Camouflaging here is easy thanks to Iris's flashy mana.
And then... The instant Iris came into the demons' view, I swung my sword.
One of the demons' head flew off along with a confused voice.
The one saying that was the still living demon.
Sub-demon is quick to grasp the situation they're in.
Even while the demon was taken aback, it immediately understood what it needed to do and deployed defensive magic around itself
My sword was already inching closer to the demon's neck while it was developing the barrier.
The sword that slipped through the deployed barrier decapitated the demon like a butter.
『Now then... How much did they find out I wonder.』
Besides visions, these demons share various other senses.
With the speed just now, they shouldn't be able to specify my mana, but it's possible they have found out my magic sword's.
...Though they probably think the magic sword's mana reaction to be that of Iris.
The sub-demons began to move in fluster while I was thinking.
They sure move fast, not surprising considering their joint-senses.
『Wha... Aren't we getting surrounded?』
『Yeah. It's the basic tactic of sub-demons.』
Fundamentally, sub-demons prefer to encircle their enemies rather than waiting for them to move.
Because sub-demons are good at attacking from blind spots by working in group, yet it'll be hard to aim for blind spots if they're the ones getting attacked.
Their extermination encirclement should be complete in 20 seconds if this keeps up.
However, I'm not going to let it happen.
I continue to observe the mana reaction, unmoving.
And then--just as I've guessed, one sub-demon is going to take the path visible from Alma's location.
--Just as planned.
『Alma, throw the magic stone! Toward the feet of the passing demon!』
The magic stone Alma threw fell unnaturally due to the effect of Guided Homing Enchant.
A moment later, the demon passed by the magic stone--as it exploded.
Of course, sub-demons aren't weak enough to be defeated by an explosion from such a small magic stone.
However, this is good.
That magic stone is something to make the demons think that they have been 『caught in a trap』.
While looking at the demon's reaction, I enter its blind spot and cut it in half.
Now the demons must think that 『Our cohort died after getting caught in an unusual trap』.
As a proof--.
『The demons are running away!』
Immediately after the third demon died, the sub-demons began to take a distance away from us all at once.
They must have thought that we knew about their encirclement.
That was my goal with giving Alma the order.
Were Alma and Ruli's position off by a meter, or it was late by three seconds, they would have seen through our tricks.
The demons have begun to move as predicted while I'm thinking that.
They're running away from us and joining up with other demons.
--This is how you do it.
No matter how good we're hiding and slipping into blind spots, there's no way to go around them when a bunch of 10 sub-demons crowd together.
And there's still 17 of them left.
We may have managed to kill three at the outset, but us four would have a hard time fighting against 14 sub-demons.
They'd easily kill us three, and Iris who survived thanks to her sturdiness would be gradually shaved down until they took her down.
We have no chance of winning if these demons group together.
--That's why I'll stop them from meeting up with each others.
『You three, stay where you are!』
After saying that, I accelerated up while squeezing my mana from leaking out, and went for the farthest demon from us.
And then, I made a fake explosion that used magic stone like earlier myself and severed the demon's head at the same time.
The disguise was far sloppier than when it used magic stone. They would instantly knew that this was a trap if they just think it through calmly.
However, I should be able to deceive them right now.
Since I'm away from Iris, her mana has been completely released to her normal level... in other words, a level of mana reaction that's far incomparable to an average human.
During such a turmoil, they should have no idea that the imperfect disguise earlier was a trap.
Or so I thought--but it appears that the demons are moving outside of my expectations.
『They found out huh.』
I muttered so while hurrying back to the girls' location.
Looks like they noticed that it was an assailant that had been killing their comrades, not the explosion.
The sub-demons had stopped moving, and begun to cast detection magic to cover each other's blind spots.
And now they're completely on alert for the assailant.
However, they don't seem to know that it's me judging from their movements.
The disguised attacks were probably effective, but a comparatively clever sub-demon probably told them, 『There's an assailant who disguised themselves behind the trap』.
--It'd be bad if they come together. Let's settle this quick.
I'm hurrying up while cutting up a nearby sub-demon with my magic sword.
I'm heading to a certain junction.
I've already mastered this town's geography.
There are key points in the demons' paths to meet together.
If they can't get through those points, the routes these demons have to take will be limited.
So I'm going to camp there.
...By the way, Iris is currently standing at one of those points.
I thought this could happen, so I had Iris to stay there to slow down the demons as much as possible.
"W-where's the enemy... Guaaaaa!"
"Invisible enemy, that's just impossible... Gaha!"
Thanks to taking controls of the key points, the elimination is going well.
However... Hiding my presence is probably nearing the limit.
Even with these key points, there are other routes for demons to take.
I've cut down the demons to only 10, but those 10 have formed a group, eliminating the gaps in their formation.
Continuing my offense here would expose my location, turning it into a frontal assault.
Fighting against a group of 10 sub-demons is a dead wish.
...I could win if Ruli and Alma showed themselves and used that instant to kill several of those demons, but it's too risky.
Even if I'm attacking the demons, letting Ruli and Alma to face off against 10 demons is a bit too much.
If Iris and I immediately join the fray, there's a 80% chance Ruli and Alma to come out safe.
However, I can't bring myself to execute that plan with that 20% possibility up in the air.
We should meet up for now. Since our enemy has grouped together already, there's no point in blocking the key points.
『Are you three all right?』
『We're unhurt too! I mean, they don't even know we're here!』
I had Iris acting as a decoy but as expected, one or two sub-demons are incapable of harming her defense, she's unscathed.
Ruli and Alma have successfully kept their presence hidden as well.
The problem is our move from here on.
Since we've cut down their numbers to around half the original, it might be a good idea to retreat here for the time being and wait for our chance.
However, giving them time here could make them high on alert for several days, so I'd like to finish it here.
While I was thinking that--the demons suddenly made a weird move.
They suddenly turned their alertness to a different direction, moving away from us.
It's as if a new enemy of these demons has appeared.
It would have been about how they would move were I used a decoy here.
I'm completely clueless as to what's going on.
However, this is exactly the situation I wanted.
『Here's our chance! Let's attack now!』
I overlook not this chance and close our distance to the demons.
Of course, there's a chance these demons purposely created this situation to entrap me.
However, my instinct as a battle hardened combatant forged in my past life tells me that's not the case.
--The demons are focusing their detection to a completely different direction so they won't miss the enemy they finally found.
Probably as a countermeasure if this 『Someone』 could use stealth magic.
Thanks to it, it's really easy to attack their back.
Concealing my presence and instilling the belief that 『The enemy is good at stealth』 on these demons finally bore fruits.
And then--I caught up with the demons just when they had started their assault on this 『Someone』.
I cut down the wide open demons in an instant.
It's very easy since they're crowding together for the sake of doing union attacks.
The demons immediately attempted to fix their formation, but they had no chance for that.
Iris threw a huge spear at the center of the crowd of demons--or rather, it's coming straight at me.
The spear that struck the ground at an astounding speed blew away the area around its impact point.
Of course, the sub-demons who were dragged into it had their formation broken in pieces.
...I would have died if I didn't dodge that.
『Oy, Iris, watch it.』
『I thought Mathias-san would dodge even if one came flying at you, so I threw it without aiming! I'm sorry!』
...Yeah. I knew that was the case judging from her random way of throwing the spear.
To begin with, Iris is not delicate enough to precisely hit something with her spear.
I continue to beat the disordered demons one after another while thinking that.
The lower their numbers the easier it is to beat sub-demons, and once it's been lowered this much, this is now nothing but a routine work.
I annihilated all but one demon, and imprison it in a barrier.
There's a reason why I didn't exterminate them all.
Then, I head toward 『Someone』 who had become the demons' target.
...Well, I've had a rough idea of who that 『Someone』 is though.
"Oy, you okay."
I kicked the ground and got to where the demons' decoy is.
The person lying there is, as expected--Giruas.
Even though my interruption came quick, Giruas still ended up taking hits from 10 demons, he's been seriously wounded.
Yet is the fact that he didn't get hit on his vitals or hard-to-heal parts because of his genius sense of battle, I wonder.
He should get patched up quick with healing magic.
To the point that I'm wondering if he purposely took only hits that would make it easier to heal with magic later.
"You sure know how to get hit."
I healed Giruas with magic as I said that.
There's only one sub-demon left.
This demon has been confined inside a barrier I made.
I didn't kill this demon because I thought Giruas would be disappointed if I left no demon alive.
He's probably itching for a fight anyway, I'll let him have the last one if he wishes for it.
It's thanks to him that we were able to easily beat these demons after all.
While thinking that... Giruas stood up.
"Ow oww.. Hm? Didn't some buncha' weird demons kill me or something?"
"Nope, you're not dead yet. Even healing magic can't revive the dead."
"...Mathias eh. Looks like you saved my ass... I owe you one."
Afterward, Giruas looks around.
"...No more demons here?"
Giruas asked me with a disappointed look on his face.
It's just as expected and all, but he's already looking for more fight right after dying huh.
This guy is a honest-to-goodness battle junkie.
"I've left one for you since I knew you'd say that."
I point at the barrier where the sub-demon is confined.
The sub-demon is apparently trying to get away, but it's failing at it because Alma has been stopping it.
"...Man you're real prepared... Since it's you Mathias, you must have purposely left one for me, yeah?"
"Was it an unnecessary gesture?"
"Naw. True that I don't like fighting pre-arranged enemy, but it's thousands times better than not fighting a powerful one that's right in front of me."
Giruas immediately gave his reply and headed for the demon.
And then he slashed at the barrier with his sword... which bounced off.
"...That's a tough one."
Then Giruas enchanted his sword with reinforcement magic and hit the barrier again.
--His enchant level has gone up compared to our fight before.
It hasn't been yet a week since then.
Though even after his enchant has leveled up, his sword can't cut the barrier.
Of course, a low level barrier wouldn't have been enough to confine a demon, even if it's a sub-demon.
"...Oy, this thing ain't budging."
"Cause I made it like that. I'm opening it."
I release the barrier.
Normally speaking, he shouldn't have been fighting after suffering that much wounds, but it should be fine if he's this energetic.
Giruas is sturdy after all.
The sub-demon immediately slashed at Giruas when the barrier went down.
Though it's not like I did it on purpose, the surviving sub-demon seems to be good at swords.
"Come at me!"
Giruas blocked the demon's sword, flipped it back and counterattacked.
The sub-demon parried his attack with its sword.
Current prospects--they're almost even.
The sub-demon is clearly superior in both strength and techniques.
However, Giruas has this mysterious sense in his moves.
He's moving like a veteran swordsman at times, though it's probably in reflex.
Due to that, none is holding the advantage, it's a draw that could tip to one side at anytime.
However, that balance didn't last long.
Giruas's movements suddenly became faster in the middle of combat.
It's the most fundamental most effective magic for a swordsman.
Especially during a stalemate, suddenly moving quicker when the enemy has gotten used to your speed, delaying their response, could prove fatal.
It was written in the very first chapter of the text book I gave him--so he did read it huh.
The sub-demon couldn't cope with Giruas's sudden acceleration.
Giruas's swords is going straight at the demon's shoulder.
And when the sword was about to hit the demon--Giruas enchanted his sword without chanting.
I know this magic--I didn't expect him to use it.
"--Recoil Steel Slash!"
Giruas continues to slash at the demon while shouting.
『Recoil Steel Slash』 is a derivative magic of 『Steel Slash』 that raises your sword's sharpness.
It's more powerful than 『Steel Slash』 but in exchange, it gives back not insignificant damage to yourself.
That recoil runs through your entire body, even those who are used to fighting won't be able to move after three consecutive usages.
Not only that, your sword moves also get duller due to the recoil.
That's why, I hardly ever used this magic.
It's only mentioned very little at the text book I gave him.
...So despite saying he's bad at reading, he went and found this magic.
However, 『Recoil Steel Slash』 might be the best magic with the highest firepower for Giruas who's originally not that precise with a sword.
Assuming he can bear the recoil though.
<TLN: If you're reading this novel at any other site than Sousetsuka .com you might be reading an unedited, uncorrected version of the novel.>
"Guh... That really stings."
The slashed demon screamed in agony, Giruas too looked at his arm with a look of agony.
And yet, he's not stopping.
Giruas swings his sword again without any hesitation, enchanted with Recoil Steel Slash.
And another Recoil Steel Slash when he's slashing back.
...That's the third.
It should be about time for an ordinary human to stop moving, yet Giruas isn't letting up.
Continuing to swing his sword even now.
Backlash from 『Recoil Steel Slash』 is not something that can be overcome with spirits or sense.
Enduring consecutive usages like this--don't tell me, he's had 『Recoil Steel Slash』 practices already.
That sure is reckless.
After three consecutive 『Recoil Steel Slash』 even the sub-demon is at its deathbed.
And, though it's not limited to demons--the most critical point in a combat is when the enemy is cornered.
Letting your guard down even a bit risks you getting killed by their do-or-die desperation attacks.
Giruas is too valuable to be lost here.
He will surely become a terrific war potential if he survives this and continues his training.
I planned to butt in before he got himself killed--but let's trust his battle sense here.
"You bastard--I'll kill you!"
The sub-demon unleashed the last of its strength, going all out to attack Giruas.
One of special magic that can only be used by demons.
It's a magic that grants tremendous strength and speed to your sword at the risk of one's life.
It's practically the upgraded version of 『Recoil Steel Slash』.
A sword buffed by such magic is coming at Giruas.
The accelerated sword infused with a vast amount of mana could shred humans to piece just by touching.
Right dead at the center, unavoidable track.
At least, with Giruas's speed, it should be impossible for him to dodge that.
However, Giruas evaded it.
It's as if, he had foreseen the attack before the demon used 『Mana Strike』.
And then he counterattacked like flowing.
"--Recoil Steel Slash."
The demon who had exhausted the last of its strength was pierced by Giruas's finishing sword.
Flawless moves without any waste.
--Giruas fell down just as the demon died.
His live is not in danger, but it doesn't seem like he can get up.
His body probably can't endure it after using 『Recoil Steel Slash』 four times.
"You've gotten quite strong in just a few days."
Even two Giruas from back then probably can't win against this current Giruas.
He's gotten that much stronger in just a few days.
"Well yeah... Yet look at me, turned into this just by beating one demon when you beat like ten of them alone. I gotta train more."
Giruas moved his head to look at the dead demon.
Looks like he doesn't have the energy to even stand up.
"Was that book proven useful?"
"Yeah. I asked an acquaintance, a guild staff to read it fer' me coz I can't read."
He got it read for him huh...
I can't imagine a scene where this guy is having someone read to him.
"Hey... What do you think we should do here?"
Right now we're in the center of the town.
Of course, people would gather around after that flashy battle.
"Oy, landlord-sama has fallen over there!"
"Something's wrong with landlord-sama! What's with those demon horns!"
This town was ruled by demons.
In other words, the populace think the demons we defeated was the landlord and the higher ups of this town.
With all of them lost, this town will fall into chaos.
Thanks to the demon's horns, we might be able to explain that they were demons to them at least.
However, the problem is the aftermath.
There might be some human higher ups surviving, but there's a chance that they have been corrupted by the demons after all this time.
This town has no one who could act as its leader.
Even now, this town has a lot of ruffians like the bandits we fought.
The town would be in chaos without a leader.
No, you can say it's already starting.
And there's no one who could stop it in this town.
"...Isn't this bad?"
"Yeah. This is bad... We need someone who can rally them together, but this town doesn't have someone like that right now... And asking helps from other landlords would take time."
"Why not ask higher-ups from the guild... Ah, the guild was overran by demons wasn't it, guess not then..."
As a matter of fact, personally there's no problem for us even if this town falls into chaos now that the demons are no more.
As there's nothing that could obstruct us from accomplishing our goal here anymore.
The reason why we came here was because the demons who were in this town could pose a problem when we're using the magic tool to look for demons.
And we'll be done with it if we just leave Folkia and activate the magic tool.
However... Since we're under the backing of Eis Kingdom to move in a foreign country, leaving Folkia here may turn into problems later on.
While I was thinking that... Giruas opened his mouth.
"...Hey. I don't really get it, but in short, this Folkia's ruler or something was a demon, and there's no one governing this town now that we beat 'em, that right?"
After hearing that Giruas tried to stand up.
And then he frowned.
"Hey. Can't ya make this body move with yer' magic?"
"Backlash from 『Recoil Steel Slash』 cannot be erased with healing magic... But I know a magic that 『Spread』 the backlash thin over a long time, is that okay?"
"Yea. That good."
Hearing that, I cast a magic called 『Recoil Dilution』 on Giruas.
This magic spreads what originally should take three days to six days and dilutes the recoil.
On someone who used 『Recoil Steel Slash』 four times, it won't be enough to make them good for battle.
"You've got my thanks... Leave the rest to me. I can't win against you in combat, but this sorta situation calls for me--a Rank S adventurer."
Giruas who received 『Recoil Dilution』 said that as he stood up.
And then he holds his guild card high up, and declares to the surrounding people.
"I'm Giruas, Rank S adventurer of Ristia Guild. In accordance to Raginia Fedeal Law of State of Emergency Command, I shall now take command of Folkia."
"...State of Emergency Command?"
"Yeah. When there's no one that can take the command during a situation related to monsters and stuff, we have a system where Rank S adventurer assume the position. Since demons are treated as monsters, now's exactly that situation."
Alma and Ruli looked at each other with worried looks after hearing that.
It's probably 『...Can someone who can't even read take the lord's place?』.
...I'm worried about that too.
"Giruas you say?"
"Giruas... That Giruas?"
"Judging from his guild card... He's the real one."
The people around are buzzing after hearing Giruas's name.
Giruas throws a question to those people.
"Oy, any guild folks here? I gotta ask something."
"I'm a guild staff member... What would it be?"
"Take me to the higher ups of this town's guild. I want personnels."
The guild staff member guided Giruas to the guild.
Looks like this 『Emergency Command』 has the binding powers to make guild staff obey.
--About 10 minutes later.
Giruas got out of the guild along with a man.
Judging from his outfits, he looks to be a big-wig in the guild.
"This guy will give you orders in my stead. The citizens must obey this guy until the replacement lord comes. Imma knock the crap of those who disobey."
Hearing that, Alma speaks in doubt.
"...Passing the buck?"
"Yea. I dunno no politics. Best to pick someone's trustworthy, that is this guy."
Giruas replied to Alma's question.
"By the way, how did you know someone was trustworthy or not?"
Giruas only lends his name as a Rank S, and leaves the politics to those who can do it.
I see, that's logical.
Now we can leave Folkia worry-free.
...Oh right, before that.
"Giruas, we'd like to enter the First Type Restricted Area nearby, can you give us the permit? The area's name should be 『Folkia Territory Restricted Area』."
"You got a business at restricted area?"
"Yeah. We need to use something there."
"Got it. Hang on a bit."
Giruas took a paper nearby.
Then he wrote something on it and put his sign.
This is what's written there.
In order to deal with a state of emergency, the four people below have been given entry permit to 『Folkia Territory Restricted Area』.
Permit Holders: Mathias, Iris, Ruli, Alma
Publisher: State of Emergency Commander Giruas
Giruas he, he wrote something formal.
Well, guess he wouldn't be a rank S adventurer if he couldn't write.
"No need to thank me."
Giruas went inside the guild afterward.
Now then... preparation complete with this.
Now we just need to enter the restricted area and activate the magic tool.
...The real troublesome part comes after the machine has been activated.