“Amako, get back…”
Amako worriedly tried to draw closer to me and I warned her away without taking my eyes off of Ark-san. That large armor of his… It might look like nothing special but it was capable of stopping my physical blows.
It’s safe to assume that blunt attacks won’t work.
Although using an edged weapon is a viable option, it’s far too dangerous when I intended to save him.
“In that case—“
I’ll just simply fight. If I can’t do anything in my current situation, I’ll try to find a solution as I’m fighting.
In order to do so, I would have to fend off his attacks. These gauntlets were something that I picked up during our fight… This is a step forward to victory.
I placed my left fist at my waist and punched out with my right arm. I also took a small step forward with my right leg. I’ll be able to react to any attack this way.
“Come at me any time!!”
In response, he raised his sword above his head and rushed out.
I was able to clearly see the trajectory of his downward slash… I steadied my hand, ready to block his sword.
My eyes slightly widened upon hearing him mutter while still looking expressionless.
—But inside, I was completely shaken.
Honestly, I’m really scared fighting against a sword this close… There’s also the fact that this is a battle I couldn’t lose, and it’s putting a lot of pressure on me.
However, no one else could save Ark-san other than me right now.
For his sake, for our sake… I definitely won’t retreat.
“I… Have to do it———!”
I crouched to avoid his next slash, coming from my right side.
I then grabbed his ridiculously large armor, pulled him towards me, and planted a knee strike in his abdomen.
…But as expected, it had no effect.
It appears that this armor was neutralizing any impact.
I noticed that Ark-san was gathering magic in his hand and quickly put some distance between us.
“…! That was a close one.”
I don’t want to get blown away by his magic again. I might’ve been fine last time but if I took a direct hit in the face from Ark-san’s magic, even I wouldn’t be completely unscathed.
Before I was able to catch my breath, Ark-san leapt at me with his sword again.
“It looks like you won’t give me any breaks!”
He swung at me numerous times, leaving trails of flames. I dodged and used my gauntlets to block his attacks… I was concentrating only on protecting myself.
Every time he swung his flaming sword, it was suffocating.. it also felt like something was prickling my skin.
However, I endured it.
My gauntlets would clash against his sword and create sparks. When he lunged at me, I would twist my body to avoid it. I continued defending, stopping each and every slash…
But my right gauntlet that blocked against his sword is getting hotter…!?
It’s turning bright red!?
Noticing that one portion of the gauntlet was turning red, I took it off in a hurry and threw it on the floor. If I had waited any longer, it would have burned me.
I could handle a small burn but it’s not a good idea to take damage when I can avoid it entirely.
If I was just facing a normal sword, the story would be different…
“Fufufu… The thing known as ‘fire’ is such a big problem.”
I used healing magic on my right hand, breathed in, and used my left gauntlet to deflect his next attack.
During the middle of his attack, I saw his arm shake a little.
His movement was also a bit awkward just now. Seeing that, I had a good guess of what was happening.
“Looks like you’ve reached your limit…”
It’s something that every person had to deal with. In my case, my stamina is just a bit higher than the average person. My body is also able to withstand more physically demanding tasks than most. Moreover, Ark-san has been attacking me this entire fight. I’m only defending, it’s obvious that he would wear himself out first.
Normally, in this scenario, my opponent would step back to catch their breath. But Neah is the one controlling Ark-san right now. As long as she doesn’t give a command to stop, he will continue to attack.
“Only if he wasn’t being controlled…”
She probably hasn’t realized that Ark-san has exhausted his stamina.
Even if Ark-san was only attacking me recklessly, I couldn’t easily deal with him. He had too much skill, but in a battle where he is exhausted, I could definitely win.
I avoided his slash, which was a bit slower now. As I did, I took the chance to take a look at Neah.
She was looking at me and in a really good mood, probably due to the fact that I’m fighting defensively.
———This confirms it. She didn’t have much combat experience.
She saw that I was easily blown away from Ark-san’s first attack. She was under the impression that I would be defeated without much trouble.
In that case, I should defeat Ark-san before his body breaks apart. Although I wanted to knock Neah out first, Ark-san won’t allow that.
If you reverse this line of thought…
If a direct attack from me won’t work, then I just have to use another way…
“Then it’s decided!”
I returned my attention to Ark-san. I slipped past his sword. Then I moved closer to his breastplate and pushed him up.
The impact of blows from me might be negated, but it shouldn’t do anything to a push— It seemed my line of thought was correct…
“This is it!! ————Prepare yourself, Neah!!”
She let out a confused voice and glared at me. I pushed and thrust Ark-san, or more accurately, his armor into where Neah was standing.
Of course, Ark-san will be completely fine.
However, I wonder how this person that’s about to get squashed will be…?
“Ah, eh!? You’re still aiming for me… A-Ark-san! Stop!!”
But unlike what I expected, Ark-san thrust his sword into the ground and prevented himself from falling. His armor loudly clattered as he forcefully stepped on his ‘brake’.
…He was able to stop, huh. He must have been frantic since the position was really awkward.
“W-what’s with this person? There’s something wrong with your head… There’s plenty of other methods you could have used, just how many times are you going to target me..?”
What? Saying there’s something wrong with my head..
Well, it’s fine. I’ll do it as many times as needed. I looked at Ark-san who was trying to hold on with his sword.
It wasn’t damage from me punching him.
I’m guessing it’s damage from the armor’s weight.
If my guess is right, then I have a good understanding of what this physical resistance on his armor really is.
“In other words, the Magic Arts you casted on this armor can only nullify attacks “against” it… Things are quite simple then. I’ll throw Ark-san at you again. I’ll keep doing it until Ark-san falls unconscious.”
“…..You’re comrades, right? You’re going to throw him countless times… C-can you really do it?”
Neah-san replied with a nervous voice.
I didn’t falter from her words and got in position to throw.
“I have no choice but to do it. One of the reasons is that I can’t personally damage this armor but the other is that I don’t want Ark-san to draw his blade against me and Amako. I don’t want him to feel regret from hurting us. For that sake—“
I’ll stop Ark-san.
Neah stiffened slightly at my words and Ark-san’s mouth moved a bit. But Amako was shaking her head.
“It would have been nice if things ended here… For you guys, that is.”
“…What do you mean?”
Before she could reply, Ark-san moved.
He was able to catch his breath a little but his movements were still a bit sluggish. No matter what she’s planning, I’ll just throw him again— Wait!?
A large fireball suddenly appeared in Ark-san’s hand and was making its way towards me.
While I was shocked he would use this much fire inside the mansion, I created a Healing Magic Ball in panic… Then I threw it at the large fireball, causing an explosion as they offset each other.
When we were fighting earlier, he was doing his best to not use fireballs. But all of a sudden, he casts a large fireball at me.
While covering my nose from the smoke, I was on guard for Ark-san. After a short a moment, something sharp appeared and tried to pierce through my neck.
I quickly tried to deflect it with my left gauntlet… But he predicted it and grabbed my wrist, trapping me.
His left hand yanked my arm toward and past him.
My feet left the floor, his hand released my arm, and from there—
I was thrown off the third floor.
I could see a horde of zombies below me, and Bluerin, who was beating them up.
I felt like this was a scene from a movie… I re-positioned myself in the air and safely landed on my feet.
Bluerin noticed my presence and looked at me from the corner of his eye.
But then I remembered the girl who was still on the third floor…
As I was about to raise my voice to call out to her, I saw Ark-san’s figure descend down from the third floor’s window.
If I fought Ark-san here right now, I couldn’t be sure that Amako would be safe. I mean… Neah is a little dense in some areas, so I know Amako would be fine, but it didn’t change the fact that I’m worried.
Should I ignore Ark-san…? No, if I let Bluerin be Ark-san’s opponent, he could be killed.
“Bluerin, I’m fine here. Go to Amako.”
“I’m entrusting her to you.”
Bluerin sensed how serious I was from the tone of my voice. He ran towards the mansion without hesitation and gave a loud growl. Amako should be fine if Bluerin is with her. Amako wasn’t a simple girl who would be caught by a zombie, either. I didn’t need to worry.
The problem is—
“I have no idea what you want to do.”
I spoke to Neah who had appeared before I knew it and was sitting on the roof.
Her hand glowed with a violet light as she looked down at me.
“You only fell from the third floor, there’s no way you would be defeated. I just wanted to change the stage… One where Ark-san can go all-out.”
In the next moment, Ark-san’s sword surged with even more fire.
Unlike when I was inside, the flaming sword was now radiating so much heat that I could feel it from all the way over here.
“Apparently, he personally doesn’t like using this technique. After all, its power is excessive and would burn his opponent to death. Well, I don’t think you’ll get away with a simple burn if you get cut by his sword this time.” Neah said scornfully.
As for me, the blazing fire sheeting off of Ark-san’s sword reminded me of Mina in Luquis.
His offensive power is certainly exceptional… I just find it funny that a healing magician like me is outside fighting against someone as powerful as Ark-san.
“It’s like I’m Nack fighting Mina. As his Master, I have to overcome this trial of fire as well.”
I remembered how Nack swallowed all his fear and stood valiantly against Mina. My mouth couldn’t help but form a smile.
Fortunately, I’ve already grasped the method of how to beat Ark-san with that armor on.
If I can’t punch or kick him, I just needed to change my tactics.
Moreover, I have to say that making Ark-san fight me outside was a bad move.
“When you were discussing with Ark-san about a plan to capture me, he must have told you this, ‘Don’t make me fight outside. It’s best for me to fight in an enclosed space.’ Right?”
“……What about it? In the current situation, it’s clearly Ark-san who has the advantage. You’re not able to inflict any damage to him with your physical attacks while he’s able to freely use his destructive fire magic.”
“Like I’m saying, it’s something you can’t fully understand just from hearing it.”
Don’t make light of me, I’m someone who has personally trained under Rose.
My strong point isn’t my strength, it’s my speed. I don’t need to worry about colliding with anything in this open space, nor did I need to worry about Amako being injured.
“Ark-san, I’ll save you right now.”
“Bring him down!!”
At the same time Neah spoke, Ark-san swung his blazing sword sideways, creating a fan of flames directed at me. I felt a strong heat radiating from his attack.. but I gathered all my strength and ran towards it. When I was close to making contact, I jumped over it.
“———There are no ceiling or walls here.”
After I landed, I immediately started to run.
I tried to get closer to Ark-san, but Neah, still sitting on the roof, commanded him to stop me. A wall of flames formed around him and knocked me back.
“I need to go faster———!”
I rolled on the ground. I got back up and ran with even more speed this time.
As I ran, countless fireballs were launched at me. But none of them were able to touch me.
I’m sure Neah gave instructions to Ark-san, which isn’t a good move either.
“Slow… Way too slow!!”
As expected, Ark-san’s isn’t as skilled when he’s being controlled.
He definitely wouldn’t use these predictable attacks over and over again like some kind of robot.
If it was Mina, she would be trying to scatter her explosion magic everywhere, preventing from moving however I liked. That would be the most effective way to counter my speed.
I changed direction, turning toward Ark-san.
Neah lost sight of me for a moment, while Ark-san was looking in the wrong direction.
Before he notices, I’ll get closer to him and quickly knock him out—!
I instantly closed the distance between us and, just when I was about to grab him, his head swung around and he looked me straight in the eyes.
I was noticed.. no, he reacted instinctively…!?
Is it the intuition he developed as a knight? Ark-san swiftly swung his sword at me.
Should I retreat..? Should I advance..? In my moment of indecision, I used my left gauntlet to block his blazing sword.
Normally, this is something I would never think of… But the person who taught me was able to break a steel sword—
“If that person can do it, then I can definitely do it too!!”
I firmly grabbed his sword as it slashed toward my stomach.
I’m her disciple and subordinate. Compared to that, a steel sword like this isn’t much!!
My left gauntlet started glowing a dull red as I squeezed his sword.
Even with the suffocating heat, I didn’t release his sword.
The moment I heard something crack, the pressure on my gauntlet disappeared.
Flames spread everywhere as the broken blade fell and stuck in the ground.
“———It does hurt a little though!!”
It’s not over yet.
Without pausing, I grabbed Ark-san by his breastplate’s collar and his arm.
This is my way of dealing with his attack-nullifying armor.
In other words, using throws.
It isn’t Judo or Aikido, I’m simply using my strength to lift Ark-san and—
Throw him onto the ground.
Ark-san’s armor creaked and a small fissure formed on the ground.
It grieved my heart to hear him cry out in pain. After confirming that he had lost consciousness, I healed him.
I gently put him back on the ground. It seemed like one throw was enough to knock him out.
After releasing Ark-san, I breathed out.
This might be a good idea… Throwing and healing someone at the same time.
My Healing Punch was something I used when I punched someone so…
“I’ll call it the Healing Throw.”
I ended up creating a technique without much practical use…
…Anyhow, I was able to knock Ark-san out. He’s probably still under Neah’s control but that shouldn’t be a problem once I defeat her.
I threw away my left gauntlet and used healing magic on my burned left hand . I then slowly walked towards Neah.
However, her expression didn’t change. Ark-san should have been an important piece for her. It was like she expected it from the very start. I felt a chill from her smile.
“The only one left is you.”
“Oh my, is that so?”
“…No matter how many zombies you have, they can’t contend with me. You should give up this time.”
“Can’t be your opponent, you say? That’s only true if they’re just an ordinary zombie…”
—Wait a moment. She was doing something with her hand this entire time and looking down.. What is she up to?
I couldn’t see any patterns that would indicate it’s a Magic Art. She’s just using her magic on the ground— Or more accurately, right below the mansion.
Is she trying to revive a zombie..? If it’s just a normal zombie, I told her it wouldn’t be my opponent. Or is she trying to revive a powerful monster as a zombie? Something like Bluerin?
But I couldn’t see a corpse anywhere——!?
“What Amako saw before in the basement…”
The one place I didn’t see in this mansion.
The place where Amako had seen ‘something’ that frightened her.
When my thoughts reached that point, the mansion shuddered, creaking loudly.
Surprised from the sudden tremor, I turned my attention to where the sound was coming from. It felt like something large was trying to force its way out…
I spaced out and couldn’t comprehend the situation in front of me. A blue lump suddenly jumped out from the entrance of the mansion.
“Amako! And Bluerin too, you were able to safely bring her here.”
I praised Bluerin for rescuing Amako. After she got off his back, I decided to ask her about the current situation.
“Amako, just what is going on…?”
“…I really don’t want to think of this possibility but… What I saw before… ‘That’ might wake up.”
“What will wake up? Just tell me without beating around the bush.”
It’s definitely not something good. As for what it is exactly, I didn’t have the slightest clue.
Amako’s face turned pale and she shifted her attention back to the mansion.
“It’s big, with sharp teeth… It has only one eye and I feel an overwhelming amount of hatred coming from it. It’s probably—“
A large hand with sharp claws suddenly smashed through the mansion’s floor and interrupted her words.
Another hand popped out after a few moments… It was trying to destroy the floor above it and break out. It was a sight that left me completely speechless.
Despite her mansion breaking apart, Neah sprouted wings from her back and flew through the air, laughing enthusiastically.
Aware of the strange creature, I turned to glare at Neah and demanded an answer.
“Neah….!! What are you trying to awaken!?”
“What am I trying to awaken? That’s obvious, it’s something that can defeat you.”
To think she would go this far… She’s crazy.
She would awaken something like this just to capture me.
———Guh, gyah, vuh———
I heard something from the mansion, a small voice that gave me goose bumps.
‘It’ widened the hole it created with its two arms. After a brief moment of silence——— It jumped out of the hole and a cloud of dust enveloped the first floor.
I covered my eyes, protecting them from the dust that made its way over here.
After it subsided, I was able to clearly make out what jumped out—
“You’re kidding, right?”
An ominous black-colored eye.
Countless scars etched all over its gigantic body.
My nose was suddenly assaulted by the smell of a rotten corpse. I covered my nose as I stared at the unbelievable scene in front of me.
In this unpleasant atmosphere, a howl that was loud enough to shake the heavens resounded. Our opponent was the Wicked Dragon…
Author: By the way, Usato is weak against sneak attacks. He is strong against frontal attacks.
Shiru: I ended a relationship. I wasn’t in the mood to translate these past few days and needed some time alone to think. Ironically, I found some solace when I did start translating again.