Their current location was the deepest room in the 89th floor.
Currently, there were four entrances within the huge octagonal room, but there was actually one more passage that leads to a hidden room between two entrances. The size of the entrance to this closed room was about 10 tatami, and its entrance was splendidly camouflaged.
Inside the room was Kouki’s party, who were resting in complete relief. However, their expressions were uniformly gloomy. There were only those who cast their gaze down in deep frustration. Everyone was covered in wounds, so a lot of them had expressions distorted by pain.
Normally, Kouki would use his charisma to encourage everyone, but now, his whole body was attacked by severe exhaustion due to the recoil from “Limit Break,” and he leaned his body in towards the wall, shutting his mouth in silent.
In addition, at such a time, the class moodmaker who could not read the mood in a good way had a pale face due to the loss blood, and was sleeping with rough breathing as she frowned in pain. This fact was also one of the reasons which made everyone depressed.
Suzu’s lower half was still petrified from the knees down, and so Kaori was still continuing the treatment. Her pierced thigh had already been healed. What was left was to undo her petrification. However, Suzu had lost a large amount of blood from the attacks of the tentacles. There was the possibility that her vital blood vessels were damaged. But it could also be said that Kaori made it in time for the healing because she was Kaori.
To begin with, even Kaori was incapable of replenishing Suzu’s lost blood. Thus, she was limited to making Suzu drink the blood-increasing medicine from this world. It was the reason why Suzu’s physical condition would not return to normal immediately. It was necessary for her to rest.
Kaori had spent all of her time on Suzu, so the others didn’t receive her healing. Naturally, Saitou and Kondou who were petrified into object-like things were kept as they were. After Suzu’s treatment ended, next were the petrified two, and the other party members who understood there were still a long wait before it was their turn, didn’t complain, except for a small portion of them. It was simply because they did not have energy to do it.
Inside the dim room where the gloomy atmosphere drifted about, Shizuku wrinkled her forehead and was puzzled on how to encourage the others. Naturally, the taciturn Shizuku could not skillfully change the atmosphere, unlike Suzu. However, there was no one else to do so since Kouki was also weakened due to the effect of “Limit Break” and his defeat, so she thought she must somehow do something. She was thinking in such manner because she naturally cared about others. A true worldly-wise person.
Shizuku herself was nearing her limit both physically and mentally, and she was gradually troubled by thinking of what to do. Thus, she decided to make an unable-to-read-the-mood-style gag with the resolution of dying a honorable death. However, when she considered again, she felt as though she felt herself breaking. Then, Nomura and Tsuji Ayako appeared from the improvised passage and they conversed.
“Fuu, I think it somehow turned into a good camouflation. But as expected, I am exhausted after using such a delicate magic… I’m already at my limit.”
“It’s not in your field of expertise to be able to transform it into wall without any sense of incompatibility… But you even used only one magic array to do that, so it can’t be helped. Cheers for your hard work.”
“You also worked hard to completely undo my petrification, right? Thanks.”
From the conversation of these two people, the one who made this room and camouflaged theentrance into the surrounding wall was the “Earth Magic-user,” Nomura Kentarou.
“Earth Magic-user” held high aptitude towards Earth-Element magic which directly manipulates the ground, but it could not do delicate work such as manufacturing and forming such as “Transmutation.” For example, it could create a bulge in the ground, make rocks fly up from the ground, harden the ground to create a stone spear, or controlling clouds of sand. In addition, for someone high-ranked, they could use petrification spells and create Golems (completely non-independent doll). However, an Earth Magic user could not produce things by separating or mixing various minerals.
That’s why, though it was possible to roughly create a hole on the wall using magic array at hand, to be able to “form” a wall similar to the surrounding walls, Nomura could do nothing but constructed it using only one magic array.
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It should be noted that Tsuji Ayako had treated Nomura after he had undid his petrification.
“Thanks for your hard work, Nomura-kun. We should be able to gain some time with this.”
“… I hope so. Well, with this I can do nothing but pray we won’t be found until everyone has recovered. About Kousuke… we can only pray, too, huh.”
“… Kousuke should be okay. He won’t lose to anyone in term of the thinness of his shadow.”
“No, Juugo. Don’t say that, I feel bad just by hearing it…”
The talk about the increasing safety of their hiding place made the depressed atmosphere slightly relaxed, and Shizuku smiled as she treated Nomura kindly due to the cancellation of creating a black history of her.
On the other hand, Nomura had a bitter smile as he prayed and looked into the distance towards one of his bestfriends who was not here now.
That’s right, currently one of their companions was not here. He was Endou Kousuke. With “Assassin” as his class, he was Nagayama Juugo and Nomura Kentarou’s best friend. He was neither gloomy nor a poor talker, but his existence was a forgettable one. He was a normal high school boy who could speak casually with anyone, but somehow “his shadow is thin.” His figure would be gone before anyone noticed it while saying, “Huh? Where is he?,” as they looked at the surrounding only to be surprised that he was right beside them. He demonstrated elusiveness without any intention of doing it at all. And, of course, it was also the same story when they were still in Japan.
Though the person himself was extremely unwilling, his ability was currently the most useful. Endou alone separated from the party and went to explain the situation to Meld and the Knights. Normally, no matter how much of a cheat the summoned person was, it was suicidal to run through the level 80ish floors alone. Even Kouki’s party had little room to spare in conquering the floors, only because there were 15 people cooperating.
But, if it was Endou, a man who could puff up his chest while saying, “The world’s thinnest shadow!,” he could take full advantages of his stealth skills and possibly be capable of reaching the 70th floor where Meld and the Knights were without being found by any demonic beast. Thinking so, Kouki’s party sent Endou off.
When he left, Endou was slightly teary eyed… surely, he felt something by leaving alone to retreat from his companions. It could not be from his companions’ persuasion words, such as: “If it’s you with your thin shadow, even keen demonic beasts won’t notice you! Only you have a thin shadow that won’t lose to anyone, so you must be able to break through the demonic beasts without being noticed.”
Truthfully, Kouki’s party wanted to immediately withdraw from the upper floors. However, to their regrets, they didn’t have any reserve strength left to do so. Within the party members who were covered in wounds, three of them were in no condition for battle while Kouki was in a weakened state, so they didn’t think they would be able to break through the 80’s floors.
Of course, they also didn’t think Meld and the Knights would come to rescue them. Including Meld, only six people were capable of building their base on the 70th floor. In the party’s minds, even by gaining help from other Knight members and the guild’s high-ranked adventurers, whose strength came close to Meld, it should be within the safety margin for Meld and the others to reached the latter half of 70’s floors, more than that was asking for the impossible.
Even with that, it would not have any meaning if Kouki’s party didn’t break through the 80ish floors by themselves. In other words, rather than to call for rescue, the purpose for Endo to go alone was to inform them about their situation and the Demon Race woman who lead the demonic beasts.
Kouki’s party had certainly heard from Ishtal and the others from the Church of the Saints that the Demon Race was amassing demonic beasts, not by brainwashing, but enslavement, since the beasts still carried their own wills. But, they never heard of such strong demonic beasts. And the astounding thing about the demonic beasts should be the “number” not their individual strength.
In fact, the demonic beasts the Demon Race woman lead had easily cleared the human untrodden 90th floor of ?Orcus Great Dungeon? and overwhelmed Kouki’s party even with the cheats they carried. Such things made it strange if the human race was not destroyed sooner.
In other words, Ishtal’s information was not mistaken and the conclusion was still that the demonic beasts the Demon Race controlled “had became stronger.” Not only their “number” but also their individual strength was astounding. Kouki’s party judged this information should be conveyed by all means.
“Shirasaki-san. Please take care of Kondou-kun and Saito-kun’s de-petrification. It’ll take too much time if it is me. But, leave the healing of the others to me.”
“Un, okay. Don’t push yourself too hard, Tsuji-san.”
“I will be okay. Rather, that’s my line… sorry. If only I was stronger, Shirasaki-san’s responsibility would be decreased…”
On the side of the conversing with Nomura and the others, Ayako was drinking the potion for recovering magic power and she said to Kaori who was still continuing Suzu’s treatment. Though both were “healers,” Ayako’s abilities was far inferior compared to Kaori’s, and even though she didn’t show it, Ayako felt herself pathetic and full of apologies, since she could only add more responsibility to Kaori.
“There is no such thing,” Kaori replied so with a wry smile, then Ayako turned to heal their companions. Even if it’s slight, darkness disappeared from their companions’ faces when they recovered by Ayako’s healing. Nomura was watching Ayako with a face as though he wanted to say something, but he could not raise a voice since he felt he’d only disturbing her work.
“… In such a situation. Just speak if there’s something you want to say.”
“… Shut up.”
Nagayama said to Nomura with an expression as if he finds something amusing, but Nomura turned his face away as if sulking.
After that, several tens of hours passed. Kouki’s party’s bodies and minds were gradually recovered and they took turns to sleep.
* * *
On the other side, one person, Endou Kousuke was retreating with the entrusted information about the Demon Race. He walked steadily aiming for 70th floor, where Meld and the Knights were, without entering even one battle.
In the 80th floors, if he was noticed by the demonic beasts, one on one would work out somehow but multiple on one was an out for him. That’s why, while hurrying up as much as possible, he advanced with prudent thoughts. Thanks to that, he was able to pass right before demonic beasts unnoticed, even now.
After the demonic beasts were out his sight, Endou got off of the ceiling where he stuck himself. The figure which was completely clad in black to make the best use of “Invisibility,” made him look just like an “Assassin.” Surely, even the demonic beasts he had just passed by earlier would receive huge damage if they were to receive a surprise attack from the ceiling. In his mind, he didn’t think, “… At least feel a little of my presence…” There was no glittering at the edge of his eyes when he saw the demonic beasts pass through without noticing him at all. Absolutely not.
“I must hurry…”
Endo understood the mission imposed on him. He had guessed Kouki and the others had sent him off to transmit the information which also meant he must survive. Nagayama and Nomura said, “Do not return here,” but their wish was transmitted without the need for words.
However, after he fulfilled his duty, Endou was going to return to where Kouki and the others were. No matter what was said, he would not feel good if he was the only one who retreated to safety.
He felt somewhat empty because the demonic beasts didn’t notice him, but it was the best weapon for the current Endou as he traced the returning route memorized in his head, and finally he reached 70th floor.
While suppressing his impatience, he went towards the room with the teleport circle where Meld and the others set their base. After a while, Endo’s Sign Perception perceived the presence of six people. There’s no mistake they were Meld and the Knights. With this distance, the others should’ve noticed him since he had deactivated “Invisibility.”
Endo turned at the last corner and arrived at teleportation room where Meld and the Knights were. However, even though his figure could completely be seen, Meld and the Knights didn’t notice him at all. Endo then approached Meld with eyes of a dead fish, and called him.
“Commander! It’s me! Please notice me! It’s an emergency!”
“Uoh!? What!? Is it enemy’s attack!?”
At the moment Endou raised his voice, Meld yelled, drew his sword, jumped back, and looked at the surrounding with vigilance. Even the other Knights were surprised and shaken for a moment, then they entered battle stance.
“Like I said, it’s ME! Seriously, please don’t give such reactions!”
“Eh? Wait, it’s Kousuke, huh. Don’t surprise me like that. Rather, what happened to the others? Besides, aren’t you somewhat ragged?”
“I said it before, there’s an emergency!”
When Meld and the Knights understood it was Endou, they relaxed their shoulders because they knew how thin Endou’s shadow was. However, Endou returned earlier than scheduled, and it was only him. Furthermore, Endou was ragged and covered in wounds, that’s why their expressions became stern and guessed something must’ve happened.
As he was hurting because of the fact even the Kingdom’s elite Knights were incapable of noticing him unless he called out to them. However, Endou thought it was not the time for that and he began to talk about the situation rapidly.
At first, Meld and the Knights put on dubious expressions, but their expression tightened as Endo advanced in his story. Then, maybe because his heart was shaken when his story reached to where he retreated alone, Endou was drown in tears and his head was patted.
“Don’t cry, Kousuke. You are doing something only you can do. Do you think any of them can run through 20 floors in such a short time without even a fight? You’ve done well. I’ve certainly received your words.”
“Commander… I, I’ll return to them now. Even though they’d be able to return here by themselves… even if this time they said they won’t lose… Amanogawa was unable to defeat the enemies even with “Limit Break.” All we could do was to run away. Everyone is considerably exhausted, so even if their injuries heal… if they are attacked… we still don’t understand everything about those bastard demonic beasts… that’s why, please return to the surface and convey this information.”
So ashamed that he was crying, Endou rubbed his eyes with his sleeve, and said with a resolute expression.
Meld bit his lip in regret, and handed over the tool bag filled with all of the highest grade healing potions and everything else inside. The other Knights copied Meld’s actions, and entrusted their tool bags to Endo, feeling mortified.
“I can only apologize, Kousuke. Although we want to rescue them together… we will just be a hindrance to you…”
“Ah, no, please don’t worry about that. There’s a considerable decrease in the number of our potions, so it will surely help us.”
Saying that, Endou shook the tool bags where various potions were kept with a wry smile, but Meld’s frown only deepened. It was not only because he was mortified with his incapability of helping them, but also due to the bitterness.
“… Kousuke. Now, I will say the worst thing I can say. I don’t care if you scorn me because it’s natural. However, I want you to hear it.”
“Eh? What’s with this all of a sudden…”
“… No matter what happens, please take only “Kouki” back.”
Meld’s words made Endou dumbfounded.
“Kousuke. If the demonic beasts are so strong and capable of putting the current you into such a predicament… the Human Race won’t have any future if we lose Kouki. Of course, I believe all of you can go through this and meet again with us, and I wish for that… However, I must say this as the Commander of Herrlicht Kingdom’s Knights. If by some chance it comes to that, please let “Kouki” live.”
Endou finally guessed what Meld meant and was dumbfounded. It was to sacrifice anyone to keep the more important one alive, a “choice” that must be done for someone with duty. It was something Endou never thought of. Therefore, Endou’s expression had become awfully bitter.
“… We, are we just extras added to Amanogawa?”
“Of course not. For it is true I wish and desire for everyone’s survival. No, such words don’t have any persuasiveness after I said that… Kousuke, at the very least I want you to convey those words to Shizuku and Ryuutarou.”
Meld’s words made Endou’s feelings darken. Meld, Endou, and the others had spent much time together. He was always by their sides ever since their beginner days in this world, and they had fought together for a long time. Meld was a big brother-like existence for the students who went to the front lines, and someone they trusted more than anyone in this world. That’s why, Endou felt betrayed by Meld who said to cast them away.
Still, he understood the necessity of what Meld said in the corner of his mind, so he could not curse him. With a dark expression, Endo only nodded and turned on his heels.
However, at that moment…
Meld suddenly pushed Kousuke aside and cliiiiing!!, the sound of metal grinding against metal rang out, it came from the drawn sword swung in an arc. Following that, he rotated once and sent a splendid kick towards the blurred space.
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With such a sound, the blurred space was blown backward. Next, numerous claw marks appeared on the ground five meter from where they were. The claws were probably used to deaccelerate.
Seeing that, Endou, who fell on his butt, turned pale and muttered.
“I-Impossible. For them to catch up now…”
As though using those words as a signal, demonic beasts that had tracked Endo and the Knights, appeared one by one. Endou remained sitting on the ground, shaken to be caught this fast. Until he arrived here, he had used “Assassin” skills to erase his presence, smell, and magic trace while moving. The Demon Race woman was moving while searching for Kouki and the others, so it shouldn’t be possible to catch up with Endou who ran straight to the 70th floor.
Endou’s doubt was erased by the nightmare-like woman who appeared next.
“Tch. Only one, huh… I thought they had escape here where the teleport circle was… Looking at this, looks like they are hiding somewhere.”
Twirling her hair in irritation, the Demon Race woman who appeared riding on a four-eyed wolf’s back, made Meld and the Knights enter battle mode. From her words, the woman thought Kouki’s party would run towards the teleportation circle, and that’s why she came straight to this floor. With her guess off, she seemed to be irritated because she now needed to search around to look for Kouki and the others.
At the same time, it could be said Kouki and the others were still safe. Endou, Meld, and the Knights looked relieved, and smiled faintly. The demon race woman noticed them and snorted towards Endou and the Knights.
“Whatever, I also have a duty here… Let’s quickly kill them and begin our search.”
Immediately, all of the demonic beasts came attacking. The Chimeras charged and made the space blur, while the black cats covered the distance like a gale. The Brutal-look-alikes were approaching with maces in their hands, and the four-eyed wolves were looking for a chance from behind.
“Make a circle! Defend the teleport circle to the end! Kousuke! How long are you going to show that disgraceful attitude! Stand up and… run away! To the surface!”
As expected of the Kingdom’s elites of the elites. Meld and the Knights promptly made such a formation and cooperated against the incoming demonic beasts. From hearing Endou’s story about the demonic beasts a little while ago, they clearly knew they were obviously inferior in terms of offense, that’s why they chose to only defend and parry.
Endou slipped a surprised voice when Meld said, “Escape to the surface.” If it’s escaping, it would be better if all of us go together. When Meld said for him to get away from this place, Endou felt that rather than going to the surface, he had a responsibility to return to where Kouki and the others were.
“Stop daydreaming! Tell the surface about the Demon Race!
“B-But, Commander Meld and the Knights…”
“We are… going to made this place our graves! Kousuke! Destroy the teleport circle once you get to the other side! It’ll at least buy you some time!”
Meld’s intention was clear. Even if they went to the surface, the demonic beasts would immediately teleport, too, if no one bought them even a little bit of time. If that happened, they’d lose the method to lose the pursuers, and they were likely to be killed when the pursuers catches up. Therefore, the best choice was for only one to escape while the rest buys him some time. If the time could be bought, the other teleportation circle on 30th floor could be destroyed, and he’d lose the pursuers. The teleportation circle was the type carved on the ground, so it could be restored using “transmutation.” After one had escaped and told the stationed force on the surface about this, they only have to restore the circle, and it could be used again by Kouki and the others.
The one chosen to escape was Endou, but because Meld previously said to cast away anyone other than Kouki, Endou was puzzled because this time he was told to escape at the expense of the Knights. It was the reason why he could not move immediately.
Toward such an Endou, Meld roared his deepest wish as the intense battle unfolded.
“I am sorry for being powerless! I am sorry I could not help you! I am sorry you weren’t the chosen one! Kousuke! This is the last wish of the worthless me! So please hear it!”
Toward the puzzled Endou, the big bro-like man’s last wish was conveyed.
Those words made Endou understand everything. Meld, in reality, never wanted to let anyone die. If someone must be sacrificed to let the others survive, it would rather be the Knights. Meld and the Knights wished for not only Kouki, but all of the students to survive. For him to be “chosen” made Endou full of bitterness.
Endou bit his lip and used all of his might to turn on his heel towards the teleport circle. It was because he felt he would not be a man if he didn’t answer the wish and resolution of Meld here.
“Don’t think you can!”
The Demon Race woman raised her hand towards a black cat while activating her own magic. The black cat shot out the tentacles on its back with a great velocity. In addition, stone spears also flew in the air riding on her killing intent.
Endou somehow managed to cut the tentacles with his shortsword, and bent his body to the side. It looked like he wouldn’t be able to evade the following stone spears. The reason for the his incapability of evading was because of the positioning of the tentacles, and the wonderful timing of the spears that came in succession. Endou gritted his teeth and prepared to receive the impact. Even if he was to receive the attack, he was determined to keep running and jump into the teleport circle.
However, the expected impact didn’t come. One of the Knight had jumped out of the formation and used his body to shield Endou.
“Guh… don’t worry, and go!”
With the stone spear piercing his abdomen, the Knight named Alan swung his sword to parry the attack of the incoming demonic beasts, and said to Endou with a truly manly smile. Endou strongly bit his lip as though he was biting it off, and ran towards the teleport circle.
“Tch! What persistent small fries! Aim for that boy!” The Demon Race woman sent out new order in a little haste… but it was too late.
“Hah, this is our victory! Don’t you look down on Herrlicht Kingdom’s Knights!”
Meld revealed a fearless smile as he shouted. At the same time, Endou activated the teleportation circle and disappeared. The Demon Race woman ignored Meld’s words and thrust her hand towards the demonic beast. The demonic beast could directly manipulate magic power, so the teleportation circle could be activated without the need for troublesome chanting. Thus, she thought she could still make it in time, if she was quick enough.
“I told you not to look down on us!”
Meld and the Knights had skillful techniques and teamwork Kouki’s party didn’t have. Using their experiences, they obstructed the incoming demonic beasts’ movements. They were outnumbered, but their defense skill and ability were praiseworthy.
To begin with, it was abnormal for Meld and the Knights to confront these many powerful demonic beasts, no matter how much of a desperate effort they put forth. Alan, whose abdomen pierced by stone spear, was finally exhausted and the balance was destroyed when he fell on his knees, and could not persist against the demonic beasts anymore. With that opening, one of the Chimeras breached their defense line and reached the teleport circle.
The Chimera disappeared the same time the glow of the magic circle was lost.
“Kuh, one, passed, huh… Kousuke… don’t die.”
Meld’s mutters was erased by the demonic beasts’ roars. Unable to stomach that she let Endou escape, the Demon Race woman sent the demonic beasts simultaneously towards Meld and the Knights.
“Fuh, we have decided our grave would be here, so let’s rampage to the end. Guys, show them the spirit of Herrlicht Kingdom’s Knights.”
With Meld’s instruction, his subordinate Knights answered with a high-spirited shout. The spirit put into their shouts, even though it was just for a moment, made the surrounding demonic beasts flinch.
… Ten minutes passed
Silence once again returned to the room with teleportation circle on the 70th floor.
* * *
With a shout mixed in between scream and war cry, Endou jumped out from the teleportation circle in ?Orcus Great Dungeon?’s 30th floor, immediately wielded his shortsword, and tried to destroy the magic circle before him.
“Wh-What!? Eh, you! What are you doing!?”
A black-clothed boy appeared from the teleportation circle, suddenly raised a shout and began to destroy the magic circle with the sword in his hand. This made the surrounding people, dressed as Knights, stand in blank surprise for a moment then they raised angry roars and jumped at Endou to obstruct his destructive action.
These guys were Meld’s subordinates who was responsible of protecting the teleportation circle on the 30th floor. Because of the force deficiency, there were people who were at their limit just by guarding the 30th floor. Unable to destroy the magic circle with a blow, Endou struck for the second time, for the third time, and when he only need one more swing to destroy the circle, he was barely stopped from destroying the magic circle.
“L-Let go! If it’s not destroyed, quickly! Those bastards will-! Let go!”
“Wh-, aren’t you from the Hero’s party!? Why are you…”
After seeing him closely, the Knights knew the person acting like a madman was one of the hero’s companions, and the Knights spontaneously loosened their holds as they whispered voices of surprise. With that chance, Endou once again swung his shortsword and destroyed a part of the magic circle, but he was one step too slow.
The magic circle once again glowed and activated. Thus, in the next moment, a blurred space attacked Endou and the Knights.
Endou immediately jumped back and was barely able to evade the Chimera’s attack. However, the Knights who didn’t know the situation and should have been able to evade, defenselessly received the Chimera’s claw attack, and died with deeply torn armor.
One of their comrades who suddenly sprayed blood, made the other Knights panic. Endou frantically shouted towards the Knights with a voice filled with impatience.
“It’s an enemy! Be careful of the blurring space! More will come if we don’t destroy the magic circle!”
Endou’s scream-like voice made the Knights regain their senses. However, at the same time, one more person was slashed and blown away. There were seven people guarding the teleportation circle on the 30th floor. And now two had been killed.
Endou grit his teeth towards the fact and used an “Assassin” skill called “Wallrun,” to run on the ceiling and aimed to destroy the magic circle from above. However, the Chimera noticed him and tried to intercept him by jumping.
Although they still didn’t understand what had happened, the Knights guessed it was necessary and jumped towards the Chimera that was trying to attack Endou. However, the Knights could only see the Chimera as a blurred space, so naturally they didn’t understand what kind of attack it had; they understood nothing about it. That’s why, the Knight who jumped behind the Chimera had his neck bitten by the tail-snake, while the Knights right beside its flank was beaten by its wings and thrown to the ground.
Nevertheless, it was not meaningless. The Chimera somewhat lost its balance and Endou was able to evade its dangerous claws and fangs. It was not a complete evasion since his shoulder and flank were gouged, but the snake tail was slashed, and the Chimera fell into the ground when they passed each other.
The Chimera flapped its wings to regain its balance to land on the ground slightly away from them, while Endou immediately stood up after he fell on his shoulder and simultaneously swung his short sword in his hand towards the previously damaged teleportation circle.
At the same time it landed, the Chimera turned around and once again rushed to kill Endou. However, at that time, Endou’s shortsword was already pierced the magic circle with all of his might.BAM!, a clear sound effect rang out. It was the evidence the magic circle had been destroyed. The trace of magic when the teleportation magic circle was used had disappeared.
“With this—… kh… gaa, AaAAAAAH!!!”
Succeeded in destroying the teleportation circle, Endou inadvertently leaked a relieved sigh because no more pursuers would come. However, the Chimera’s fangs bored into his right arm in the next moment, and he screamed due to the sharp pain. The strong jaws tried to bite off Endou’s right arm.
The Knights charged towards it and used all of their might to attack the Chimera in order to disturb it. The Chimera whose side were pierced by strengthened short spears, inadvertently loosened the force on its jaws. Endou pulled out his right arm, slipped out the concealed knife from his left sleeve, and slashed the Chimera’s eye.
The rampaging Chimera slashed two more Knights to death when they approached it to give it the finishing blows. Endou threw the knife in his hand, but the Chimera, with a slashed eye, evaded by instinct.
Immediately, one of the Knights suddenly raised a scream. He inadvertently looked towards the source and saw the Knight who previously had his neck bitten by the snake, was beaten to the ground. The Knight’s lips turned purple, writhed in pain, and died in no time.
Seeing that, the last Knight ran out to kill the snake, but it was a fatal mistake. The Chimera whose back was turned to the Knight noticed the incoming enemy and immediately attacked. Covered in wounds, Endou squeezed out all of his remaining strength, and activated his certain kill attack towards the neck of Chimera that attacked the Knight.
Being separated from his companions, forced to desert Meld and the Knights, for the Knights he knew to be killed, and various grudges mixed into his shout, he struck a fatal blow demonstrating all of his power. He tore the Chimera’s neck from the nape, and it died in a moment.
Due to the inertia, Endou who sprang from the Chimera’s flank, crossed it, and rolled tremendously once he reached the ground. Enduring the pain in his shoulder, right arm, and flank, Endou lifted his upper body with his left arm to confirm, and burn the Chimera’s death into his eyes.
The Chimera laid quietly looking to be completely dead due to the partly torn up neck. However, Endou’s expression was weak as though he was going to cry rather than feeling joy, and he couldn’t help but whisper, “Damn it!”
Before his gaze was the figure of the last Knight who rushed out. He was falling prone. With sword gripped in his right hand, his face had turned purple. Beside him, was the torn up snake. Perhaps, right before the Chimera attacked, he slashed the snake that sprung to him and his face might be bathed by the toxin inside its body. Resultantly, all of the Knights who were guarding 30th floor had been annihilated.
Because he could not save even one person, Endou cried as he shouted, “Damn it!,” many times. He shouted the same words for a while, and Endou, who thought he had died due to blood loss, took out the highest grade ointments and recovery potions from the tool bags he got from Meld and the Knights. After his wounds were treated by the emergency set, he silently lined the Knights’ corpses in a corner of the room where the teleportation circle was.
For a little while, Endou watched the Knights’ figures, and slowly turned around to advanced a step toward the surface. His face was as pale as a ghost, and his eyes were hollow without any ambition. Thinking “Once again only I survived,” Endou’s heart was tightened by a heavy, cold chain. The current him moved his body just like a machine that only had to fulfill the role he was entrusted with, and he single-mindedly aimed towards the surface.
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