Hey guys! This chapter is also quite long, so pace yourself. I’m not really sure about the first half of the chapter. It doesn’t flow quite right. I will read it through later and edit it if I need to. Enjoy the chapter!
ED: clover, eristol, xtostos
Klaus raised a cry while charging straight at the ancient black monster Zaratan.
The mass of innumerable spellcards around him formed a huge column comparable to those of the Zaratan’s arms.
I remember seeing something like that in children’s picture books. It is similar to how small fishes gather together and form a bigger school.
But can we compete with this?
The Zaratan swung its forearm.
Klaus concentrated the spell cards in front of him like a shield to catch the thick forearm.
The moment the claws of the monster touched it, the array of spell cards deployed a conspicuously large magic circle.
Something like big sparks scattered between the two as the magical residue fluttered in the air like petals and scales.
Klaus was pushed back about two meters and forced to fall on his knees.
He appeared to have turned out unscathed somehow.
Oops, he is looking over here with a smug expression.
I understand that you are strong, but it is bad for my heart, so stop that.
“What are you doing, Erica! Use that wand!”
Oops, so that wasn’t a smug expression but a scowl instead, huh.
Come to think of it, that’s right.
Klaus has incorporated almost all of the spell cards into the expanded Protective Circle.
His means of attack now is only the wand of Fire Bolt.
Besides, the leftover of that wand is about one shot, right?
In this kind of situation, even if it is Klaus, he can’t hold out against an obviously stronger monster on a one-on-one basis.
I glanced at Ann.
She was hiding in the shadow of the wall separating the main path leading to the altar and the inner sanctum.
I also copied Ann by jumping into the shadow of a pillar.
The battle between the mage Klaus and the huge monster Zaratan continued.
Klaus was the one on the defensive.
Sometimes, he attacked with spell cards clad in magical energy.
However, not a single scratch could be seen on the hard shell of the monster.
Klaus is indeed impressive for managing to withstand so long, but his magical energy is not inexhaustible.
Besides, the magic replenishing potions were only a limited resource.
(I have to cover for Klaus……!)
But Grease doesn’t cause any damage, and I doubt it would be enough to trip that gigantic monster.
I opened my bag and began fishing for wands.
I didn’t assume we would run into such a huge monster, so only few of these wands can be used for combat.
I should change the wands in my belt’s wand-holder.
Can the Klaus-directed Grease be used for battle for once?
While switching over, I noticed a wand that could serve as a trump card.
It was a wand of Death.
The shaft was made from cypress. The tip was formed from a ring of twelve pyrope garnets
The surface of the wand was brilliantly polished to a glossy sheen and engraved with the Aurelian word for ‘lamentation’.
The core material is the last breath of a creature that died of natural causes wrapped in a linen cloth soaked in myrrh.
Only creatures smaller than the one used for the core material of the wand can be killed by its magic.
When it is used in a person-centered war, the creators generally use the last breath of a horse.
This wand, however, is specifically modeled for exploring dungeons.
As it is crafted to kill dangerous beasts and monsters, it most likely contains the last breath of a larger creature.
The Zaratan is about a little smaller than an elephant.
(The remaining charge is one. If the core material is an elephant or a whale this wand will win. If it is a bear or a tiger then let’s give up and run away.)
Klaus took several steps back to dodge the Zaratan’s claws.
At that timing, I took the opportunity to spring out of the shadow of the pillar.
“Over here, Monster!”
In response to my words, the monster stopped moving.
It looked at my figure and smiled with delight.
The cry of deep grudge sent vibrations coursing through the air of the cathedral.
I should have been frightened, but I felt comforted for some reason.
The monster cut its eyes completely off from Klaus, turned towards me and prepared to lunge.
Targeting that moment, I waved the wand.
A dark, unobtrusive magic circle composed of crimson and black materialized at the tip of the wand.
From there, ill-boding shadows resembling three distorted hands stretched out toward the huge monster.
The long black hands of death caressed it gently.
『I remember…I remember this magic, you cowardly imp!
A creature larger than me, such a being doesn’t exist anywhere in this world.
I am this land … this very earth you stand on. I carried you poor vagrants as I crossed the sea to this land, I am this city itself!”』
…Formerly city sized!? Then even a whale is impossible!
The huge monster Zaratan kicked off the ground and rushed at a speed that didn’t match its huge build.
I threw away the used-up wand of Death and pulled out the wand of Hold.
(Not good! I will not make it!)
I instinctively curled up and closed my eyes.
A crashing sound like a car colliding with thick walls of concrete shook my eardrums.
Klaus protected me and stood between me and the monster.
He added several hundreds of spell cards to the Protective Circle to take on that attack.
“Erica! You, why did you attack…aah, no, was my explanation insufficient?”
“Eeh? I apologize, but did I do something wrong?”
“If you attack that beast, then my attack to distract him would be wasted, right?”
So Klaus was taking the role of the tank like in games, huh.
As the person with the highest defense he would lure the attacks and the others would provide minimal support as to not pose a threat.
So that was why you tried to get me to aid you with Grease.
But, if someone didn’t deliver a decisive blow, then wouldn’t Klaus who was handling the attacks have been in danger? We wouldn’t have been able to heal him if he sustained injuries.
Only the people of Lucanrant can handle high-level healing magic.
“I still have Hold and Lightning Bolt. It would be impossible to defeat him, but it should be enough to create an opening for us to escape.”
“I appreciate your thought but keep the offensive wands. We might require an all-out simultaneous attack later on. I will tell you when to—”
The Zaratan’s claws sliced through the Protective Circle.
The continuous attacks loosened the spell cards’ solidarity, nearly half of them were shredded off.
A massive smile peeked through the rift in the barrier.
『Kukukuku, are you done with your cheap charade1?』
Klaus was barely holding down the monster using half of the spell cards.
At that moment, I pulled out the wand of Grease.
Is Grease effective in this situation?
I can only trust Klaus.
As I waved the wand of Grease, a white sphere of magic blew out from the tip.
When it reached the size of a basketball, it gained physical mass, forming a large bubble of fat.
I flicked the wand again to send the grease bubble flying towards the Zaratan.
The blob of grease bobbed up and down, slowly flying along its course.
When the grease bubble came close to the tip of its nose, the Zaratan showed a bored expression.
It was avoided easily.
If our opponent was a human wearing an armor it might’ve been possible, but it is impossible to hit such an agile monster which jumps around as it pleases.
A moment later, Klaus was blown away along with his spell cards.
He tumbled across the floor and came to a stop on the other side of the room.
And, with a slow gait as if enjoying the situation himself, the Zaratan trudged closer to me.
『It was a useless, cheap trick, dwarf.
That’s right, you are always, always nothing but tricks.
Everything is nostalgic…even that time when you killed me.
That night when we reached this continent, to me who was exhausted and sleeping, you guys…!
Shameless gold marauders! Even though I did so much for you, did you want the Philosopher’s Stone so badly you would drop a thousand stars upon me!?』
“Philosopher’s Stone, you say?”
The wishes of the alchemists of the Aurelia family.
Turning base metal into gold – that is, a miracle stone that transforms everything into the desired substance.
In the game setting, the reason why the alchemist Zaratan was killed was to take away the Philosopher’s Stone from him.
『Do you care about the Philosopher’s Stone?
Indeed, you are also a descendant of Aurelia the Insatiable.
However, it is useless.
Your shallow schemes are all pointless!
The Philosopher’s Stone, my very soul itself—whether you rip open my stomach, or gouge out my entrails, you will never find it!』
It was overly optimistic of me to think that I could break my fate of death if I just saved Ann.
This Zaratan – it will never forgive me or those of my bloodline.
Its hatred and grudge are directed towards every people of Aurelia.
Its death is a sin that we all must bear.
As long as we, the alchemists of Aurelia, continue to seek the golden sacrament, we will continue to be condemned for that sin.
『Throw away the wand, daughter of Aurelia.
I know all of your magic. You cannot kill me unless you drop stars2.
Well, what will you do?
You do resemble the child I grew up with long ago.
So I am willing to show you mercy.
However…that is only if you betray the other two and kill them with your own hands!
Like what your ancestors did to me!!』
The monster opened its big mouth so wide that it seemed to tear, baring off each of his sharp fangs in a grotesque smile.
“I will do no such thing!!”
What an evil trade of fate!
『Isn’t that riiiiiiiiiiight!?
You are just someone who speaks nothing but lies, so you will not admit wanting to kill other humans, huuuuuuhhhh!?
Then let me turn the offer to the others.
The girl hiding theeeeere!
If you leave the daughter of Aurelia and run away, I will spare you and the boy!
Anyway, this girl, just like her ancestors, is just a self-centered woman.
Either way, she is no one to you, even if you abandon her, it will not hurt you, right?』
The Zaratan stretched out its front legs in an exaggerated gesture like a theater actor, its eyes fixed on the spot where Ann was hiding.
Such a heinous act, to give choices like that to a little girl.
I glared at the monster.
The monster accepted my hostility and looked like he was having fun from the bottom of his heart.
“Don’t tempt other people’s sister without permission.”
Along with Klaus’ voice came a sound of something slicing through the air.
Spell cards surrounded the monster’s knee joints in triple-layered rings.
It was a magic of Bind which fixes the target to its spot.
The triple binding caused the Zaratan to lurch forward and halt.
“Whatever you say, you have to defeat me first.”
『Brat, so you can still move? Don’t throw away the life that I generously overlooked.』
“Rather than throwing away my pride, I would rather throw away my life. I will not abandon those I have sworn to protect.”
Klaus walked slowly, channeling magical energy into the spell formation of Bind from his staff.
His clothes were torn in the middle, revealing the bruises and abrasions.
He had wounds all over his body, but it was a relief that there were no hemorrhage or broken bones.
Klaus continued after spitting out some saliva mixed with blood.
“…But this guy really has an intolerably gaudy face.”
That was an unnecessary comment.
I wonder if it was really a remark he had to make now.
Why did he even have to diss its face, this guy?
『It’s useless, brat. You cannot penetrate my armor with your magic. The same goes for that Aurelia’s Fire Bolt wand.』
“Don’t underestimate the magic of Hafan, Monster.”
『No matter how different the blood flowing in each human is, everyone is equally stupid.
Will you defend Aurelia three times and hinder my revenge?
Do you know who it is you dare threaten?
Do you know how merciful I have been? Will it take death for you to realize how fortunate you were?!”』
The Zaratan clenched its fists and gave out a terrifying roar.
As it focused its power into its body, cracks spread through the rock-hard substance making up its shell, and its form began to swell like a flexing muscle.
It was almost as though his armor couldn’t bear the pressure from the inside.
From the gap between the broken scales and shells, body fluids like black sea water oozed out and hardened again.
Repeating that process, the monster expanded rapidly.
It seems that it is trying to regain his original form.
Apart from its knees, still held in place by the Bind, the Zaratan’s legs grew twice as thick.
Even on the points where the Bind was constraining him, the spell cards themselves were gradually being pushed back by the force from the inside.
The magic circle that formed the spell was distorted out of shape.
Finally, not being able to hold on any longer, the magic broke, leaking fine particles of light.
“Klaus-sama, the Bind!”
“Although this is still too early…damn it! It can’t be helped! Change of plans!”
Klaus manipulated the spell cards by swinging his staff in every direction.
Countless spell cards stuck to Zaratan’s exterior like a shroud as if concealing him.
“If just Fire Bolt doesn’t work, what about Fire Bolt with increased firepower with Grease!”
When I looked closely, something like oil was apparent on the spell cards covering Zaratan.
Apparently, Klaus seems to have secretly used the spell cards to recover the Grease which was avoided before.
A Fire Bolt spell was unleashed from Klaus’ wand towards the grease-splattered monster.
Rows of fire crackled at once and enveloped the Zaratan.
The flammable grease burst into flames in the blink of an eye and a blazing column several times the height of the Zaratan rose up.
The blistering flame illuminated the dark labyrinth as if midday.
“…Did we do it?”
Deep laughter could be heard as if responding to Klaus’ muttering.
『What is it, brat? Saying something like that with that kind of boldness, but it was only to this degree?
You cannot even kill bugs with such a pitiful fire.』
With a terrible momentum, the Zaratan calmly walked towards us while being enveloped in a blazing fire.
There was no Bind holding it back anymore.
The monster spread its enlarged forearms and slowly brought them together.
Following the movements of its hands, the flames covering it shrunk as if being sucked in-between its palms.
By the time the Zaratan completely brought its claws together, the flame had completely disappeared.
“Damn it! I will just bind you again…”
『I won’t suffer the same technique twiceeee!』
The Zaratan shortened the distance between us step by step, batting away the spell cards before they could position themselves.
Somehow, his power has increased in proportion to the enlargement of his body, to say nothing of his motivation.
It is obvious that the next blow might be too much for Klaus.
I swiftly used the wand of Lightning Bolt.
Before the bolt of electricity from its tip could hit the Zaratan, the monster opened its mouth and a familiar-looking stream of magical flames shot forth.
Flames and lightning clashed head-on and nulled each other out.
After the two magic effects cleared away, the Zaratan remained standing there unscathed.
“Fire Magic? But how…”
“What the heck…his ability, perhaps…”
『There is no use noticing that now!
Both of you, get crushed and dieeee!!!』
Klaus hurriedly tried to reinstate the Protective Circle, but he wouldn’t make it in time.
I pulled out the wand of Hold.
But my hand wearing the alchemists’ leather glove was blocked by the Lightning Bolt wand.
Again, I won’t make it in time.
A massive forelimb, thicker than a number of trees bound together, loomed over our heads.
Klaus with his arms outstretched leapt in front of me suddenly, to protect me..
—-A beam of light crossed my field of vision.
The thin but intense streak of light hit the Zaratan’s left knee.
The monster’s thick scales crumbled as the beam pierced all the way to the other side.
After a moment, a pale blue flame burst out at the spot where the hole was drilled by the light and the knee joint exploded from the inside.
The Zaratan, having sustained damage in one of its knee joints, lost its balance, fell on the spot and propped itself up with both forelimbs.
“Onii-sama! Erica-sama! Please escape!”
“Ann, well done!”
Klaus pulled my hand and ran for the exit of the inner sanctum.
With her staff at the ready, Ann who had sweat drenching her forehead was waiting there.
A bottle thrown by Ann flew towards the Zaratan.
That was, a bottle of Obscuring Mist.
Its glass casing shattered against the monster’s scales, scattering a thick, white mist.
The fog thickened rapidly and covered the entire inner sanctum of the cathedral.
“Ann, what took you so long? We nearly died”
“I don’t even have any experience in combat training. You should be grateful I even managed to shoot him at all.”
“You focused too much magical energy. A bit less should still have penetrated him.”
“Geez! Onii-sama, please move your legs and not your mouth!”
I just didn’t understand the situation.
I listened to the Hafan siblings’ banter and ran away with full power anyway.
Anyway, for the siblings who seem to get along well with each other to be able to banter is refreshing.
I was a single child in my past life and I have never fought with Eduard-oniisama because we are past being chummy with each other.
“Onii-sama. At the very least, couldn’t you have explained your plan beforehand?”
“Eeh!? You didn’t say anything to Ann-sama either!?”
“Aah, my bad. But there was no time for that.”
“Simply saying ‘save Erica-sama and escape’ would have been plenty! When you up and went to face that monster I thought you had lost your mind, you know?”
“Ann, do you have to go that far…”
“I for one, thought Klaus-sama was just being Klaus-sama, doing everything on his own.”
“You guys, just what do you think I am?”
While running, Ann and I averted our eyes away from Klaus.
“Klaus-sama is…brimming with self-challenging spirit, an embodiment of self-confidence…”
“Onii-sama is courageous, courageous and very courageous…”
Whatever he was going to say was cut off by a thunderous roar from behind.
As we looked back, the wall separating the inner sanctum from the rest of the cathedral had collapsed.
A huge shadow appeared behind the ocher-colored haze mixed with dust and Obscuring Mist.
The monster popped out of the haze.
The Zaratan, having lost a leg, was running with both arms on the ground and charged straight at us.
“That guy, he can move already!? Both of you, hurry up!”
We sprinted through the cathedral and scampered into a narrow corridor at one end.
Not even a second later, the passage trembled along with the sound of a collision.
Dust filled the narrow passage.
The Zaratan’s body couldn’t pass through the entrance of the passage and seems to have crashed into the wall.
Something huge stretched from the fallen entrance.
Claws resembling an executioner’s axe grazed the tip of my nose.
“Erica, the back! Move to the back!”
“Erica-sama, move out of his reach, quick!”
Klaus and Ann pulled me out of the danger zone while I was shocked to a standstill.
The Zaratan’s claws were swinging in every direction before our eyes.
The monster was groping around for us, scraping again and again at the floors and walls.
The Zaratan, who understood that we were out of reach, withdrew his hand and looked into the passage with his eye.
With a pitch-black eye like a hollow and bottomless pit.
『…Grudge…grudge, grudge, grudge, grudge, grudge, grudge, grudgegrudgegrudgegrudgegrudgegrudgegrudgegrudgegrudgegrudgegrudgegrudgegrudgegrudgegrudgegrudgegrudgegrudgegrudgegrudgegrudgegrudge——-
The cowardly Aurelia…those damn kids who are standing by Aurelia…
All of them are absolutely unforgivable.
I will slowly torture all of you to death, until you indeed beg for death…』
When Zaratan drew back after saying so, he began to destroy the walls near the entrance of the passage with his claws.
The stones, which were supposed to be hard, were gently scooped out as if they were made of Styrofoam or something.
His strength was beyond our understanding.
“L-let’s go! Talk later! For now, just run!”
I thought I really would die this time.
I was thinking of stopping because of a series of shocking situations, but I continued to advance my feet in a hurried manner.
1 三文芝居 (sanmon shibai): a low-level play not worth enough to pay quarrel money. It is used as an expression pointing to behaviors such as behind-the-scenes behaviors.
2 ‘Even if you dropped stars’ here referring to the Wand of Sailor’s Song, where it was said that it could drop stars in exchange for the user’s life.
About the alchemists’ leather gloves, if you don’t remember, Erica gave one to Klaus, so they both each wear one (not a pair, but one). It seems that the gloves are to alleviate the reaction from the wands. Up to this chapter, there is still no explanation about what kind of reaction the wands give to the user. But it seems that they couldn’t use wands with the hand that doesn’t wear the glove.
Edit: I changed Zarathan to Zaratan. Look at the comment below for explanation, or at the bottom note of the previous chapter. Thanks to Ultimatecalibur for telling me!