Hi guys, sorry to make you guys wait. I fell sick in Hong Kong and I just moved house. It was quite hectic. Anyway, thank you for your patience and enjoy.
War Part 9
Translators: Skythewood, Frostfire10
The words danger perception ability existed.
It was an ability that allowed the theif-class adventurers to sense danger like reading a book, and it was extremely important.
This ability had two types. One was based on instinct (not deduction or investigation but sensing when something occurred) and the other on deduction and studies from experiences. If the former was noticing your heart beat when an insect got close, the latter would be seeing through any small change in the environment, small changes in smell or sound, to locate the enemy.
In the case of the latter, if one went to battlefields or on journeys, even if one did not train this ability, it would sharpen by itself. It goes without saying that it was born from experiences of walking the line between life and death. Even if one thought it was a safe place or failed in one’s evaluation of the situation, as long as one was dancing with death, this ability was forcefully trained.
In addition, creatures like the lizardmen were far more proficient in this than humans. This was an ability of living creatures, based on the sharpness of the sensing organs of the creature, and from a harsh living environment. Humans would probably sleep in a safe place far from monsters. However, lizardmen lived next to such monsters.
With such an environment, it is understandable their danger perception was much better than humans.
Especially Zaryusu, would not fail to notice the change in the atmosphere outside their houses.
Feeling tension filling the air, he opened his eyes.
Before him was a familiar room— although he had only stayed here for several days. Humans, even if they tried to, would not be able to make out details in this room which had no light source, but it was not that difficult for lizardmen.
There was nothing out of the ordinary in the room.
Zaryusu looked around, and after confirming that there were no strange objects, he gave a sigh of relief as he moved to sit upright.
He was an outstanding warrior, which was why even if he was sleeping moments ago, he was as awake as normal. There wasn’t an issue of drowsiness, as he was even energetic enough to immediately enter battle.
This was natural for warriors trained to a certain level. This was also related to the fact that lizardmen were habitually light sleepers.
However, Crusch who was sleeping beside Zaryusu showed no signs of waking up.
Having lost the body warmth of Zaryusu, Crush merely sleepily let out a dissatisfied soft murmur.
It was a truly deep sleep.
If it were under normal circumstances, Crusch would also sense the change in the air and wake up, however this time it seemed as if she had not noticed at all.
Zaryusu felt some regret, whether or not he had allowed Crusch to shoulder too much burden.
He recalled last night, and came to the opinion that the burden on Crusch was perhaps greater than his. During the operation of defeating the powerful opponent, the lich, the female Crusch seemed to have suffered a greater burden than the male Zaryusu.
He himself wished that he could allow her to continue sleeping, but after listening carefully, he could hear the frantic movements of many lizardmen beyond the house doors. At these times when various emergencies had already occurred, not waking her up would might be more dangerous.
Zaryusu used a bit of force to shake Crusch several times.
Crusch curled her tail, then immediately revealed her red eyes.
“It looks like something has happened.”
This phrase caused the drowsy Crusch to instantly widen her eyes. Zaryusu grabbed Frost Pain which was by his side and immediately stood up, and not long afterwards, Crusch was also out of bed.
For humans, they would have to wear clothes and do other things, but lizardmen had no need to do so.
Going outside, Zaryusu immediately understood the reason for the ruckus, and so did Crusch.
The reason was—-The sky.
They saw a large thick dark cloud covering the air above the village.
Looking to the distance, they could tell within a moment that the dark cloud was completely different to ordinary dark clouds. This was because it was a clear cloudless sky for miles around.
That also meant that this was—
It meant that the hand of the existence known as the Supreme One had once again come knocking—-
“Looks like it.”
Crusch agreed with this view. All of the lizardmen of the five tribes that had grouped together to fight could see the dark cloud in the middle of the sky, and were talking about it. However nobody had a look of fear on their faces.
That was because they were victorious under unfavourable circumstances in the previous battle, causing everyone to become more spirited.
Zaryusu and Crusch ran towards the main gate of the village.
The two of them ran towards the village, giving off a water splashing noise as they sprinted. They passed by several lizardmen who were commencing their battle preparations, and wasted no time in arriving at the main entrance.
Several warrior class lizardmen were looking outside from the gate. One of them was a deformed lizardman. One that had one huge arm—-Zenberu.
In response to the harsh splashing sounds of the two approaching, Zenberu raised his hand in greeting, and immediately focused outside.
Zaryusu and Crusch ran to his side and looked outside.
On the far shore 250 metres away. Where the wetlands met the forest.
There, Skeletons had formed into ranks. It was quite the number. About the same as the previous battle, not maybe slightly less. They outnumbered the lizardmen.
“So they have come again.”
Zaryusu responded to Zenberu, then clicked his tongue.
They had expected this. They had known that it was not the end.
However it was too fast. It was unexpected that they would not have time to fully recover their wounds, bury their dead or strengthen their defenses.
Zaryusu made a wry smile. He had underestimated his opponents.
The enemy had the ability to again send such troops even though they had destroyed a large number of skeletons and zombies.
“… However, these skeletons should be weaker than those summoned by the lich.”
These words had a hidden meaning. What Zenberu meant was that he believed that the current skeleton army was in fact stronger than the one which invaded before.
Zaryusu also observed intently at the skeletons arranged on the shore of the other side. This was to size up the opponent’s strength, to then carry out the appropriate defensive actions.
Their appearance was certainly one of a skeleton.
A body of bone that had complete resistance to slashing attacks. That was dangerous but, the most dangerous was that since no muscles were visible, one could not tell how strong they were. For outward appearances, the biggest difference was their equipment. The skeletons from before were only equipped with rusty swords. However, the skeletons this time had sturdy breastplates, wielded a kite shield in one hand and one of various types of weapons in the other. Their backs had composite crossbows attached to them.
They were ready for any type of battle.
There was a wide gap between them and the earlier skeletons. In addition, it could be felt their their bodies were sturdier.
Zaryusu observed this much, and discovered a particular fact. He couldn’t help but doubt if he had seen incorrectly, and rubbed his eyes several times. However that remained a reality.
“Eh… that can’t be…”
“H-How is that possible…”
At the same time as Crusch’s exclamation, Zaryusu who had discovered the same fact involuntarily spoke out in a pained low voice. This time, Zenberu replied.
“… Oh, you realised it too.”
Zenberu’s voice made it sound like he wanted to spit out blood. This was as he saw something unbelievable.
“Mmm…” Zaryusu was done with speaking, and remained silent. He did not wish to speak, because once words came out, he would be terrified. Yet it was impossible to remain silent. “… Their weapons seemed to be magic equipment.”
Crusch by his side nodded solemnly.
The skeletons were holding various weapons. They were all infused with magic. Some skeletons had a sword with fire, others had hammers of blue lightning. Green lights emanated from the spearheads of some, while the rest had purple liquids dripping from their scythes.
Zenberu next words deepened Zaryusu’s shock.
“Looks like that is not it. You two should also look closely at the armours and shields. Those… are also magic defensive equipment.”
Zaryusu doubted his eyes when he heard Zenberu’s words.
He then unconsciously moaned. He noticed that the shields and armour were not sparkling just from the sunlight, but also as they themselves were emitting light.
Just what type of existence could equip that number of skeletons with magic equipment. While if it was a temporary simple enhancement to the weapon, it would be possible for a large country. However, if they imbued magic equipment with various attributes, the situation changed.
Zaryusu learned a lot from the dwarfs he met in the mountains while on his travels.
Dwarves were a mountainous race which excelled in metalworking. During feasts, those dwarves would often talk about the legend of a particular hero— the King who established the great Kingdom of Dwarves, the hero who wore shining mithril armour and solo defeated a dragon, then becoming one of the thirteen heroes, ‘Magic Engineer’. Even within the legends told by the dwarves, there were no stories which told of this kind of magnitude of magic equipment preparation.
Then, what was the scene before Zaryusu?
“… Is that an army from the myths?”
If this was not a story from mankind, then it must be a scenario from a mythical story.
Zaryusu’s entire body was trembling. Because he realised that this exceeded his predictions, and they were facing an enemy which absolutely should not be provoked.
Was this not something they had understood. The opponent was probably extremely strong. They had came prepared to be annihilated. As the one who proposed this plan, why was he trembling. The enemy was far beyond his imagination. He understood that. So if that was the problem, what should he do?
Did victory weaken his heart?
If he recalled their words, the lizardmen had shown their ability to repell their first wave. Then, they at least would have some sort of negotiations. If he showed fear, their evaluation of him would drop.
Deciding so, his heart felt more vigorous, and Zaryusu stared at the skeletons.
As he tried to see which was the enemy commander—-A cold wind blew. It swept around Zaryusu’s entire body.
Crusch is cold too. While he hugged his body, he checked the situation of the sky.
Due to the thick clouds hanging in the sky, they blocked the sun and caused quite the chilling sensation. That was the normal expectation, and normally it would be entirely correct.
But that was not it.
The wind blew again, and a shivering cold attacked Crusch. Her body again trembled. Zaryusu with Frost Pain had some resistance to the cols and so would not feel it unless it was above a certain level. So Zaryusu hugged Crusch.
“Are you alright?”
I’m cold too. Zenberu spoke in his heart, but he did not enter the view of Crusch or Zaryusu who was giving her his body heat. They looked like two good friends hugging if seen from the side. Zaryusu then asked Crusch.
“Crusch. Have you heard of such cold winds blowing at this time of year?”
“No, none. However if they activated magic to control the weather, this cold wind would not be strange.”
Crusch again, spoke in a small voice so that no one else but Zaryusu could hear. Zaryusu frowned at her response.
“This is bad….”
“Eh? What is?”
“Oi oi, this is a bad atmosphere.”
Just as Zenberu said, due to this strange cold wind, the lizardmen all had expressions of uncertainty. There was not much left of the confidence that once filled them. They felt like scared children.
Zaryusu felt it too.
A cold wind that was impossible for this season—-basically an impossible change in nature. This caused the morale of the lizardmen to drop.
The lizardmen did not know magic, and had the experience that nature was something that could not be changed by anyone. Basically they had associated being able to change nature with someone who was far more powerful than them.
Yes. Just how powerful was the enemy they were about to face? This blowing cold wind eloquently told them the answer.
“A good move.”
While clicking his ongue, Zaryusu accepted the effects of this magic. He could say nothing but that a move to instantly lower the enemy’s morale was good. If they were aiming to lower morale, to make sure of this—-
“Cheh, the opponent has begun to move.”
Yes. The skeletons began to move.
Zaryusu grit his teeth. His forced his unwilling tail to not make any large moves. So they were aiming for this timing to move.
The surrounding warriors began to waver. Some of them even raised cries, warning that they were coming to attack. Among them, Zaryusu knew that it was different.
That was not movement to attack. However, the panicking lizardmen thought only that they were attacking.
Just as Zaryusu and Zenberu were about to request aloud for the panicking lizardmen to calm down—
A large piercing sound shook the air. That voice was not too loud. However, it was filled with confidence and dignity that no one could oppose.
All the lizardmen was entranced by the voice, stopped and looked at the direction it came from.
It was Shasuryu.
“I say again, calm down.”
In this silent space, only this voice filled with self-confidence and authority reverberated.
“Also, do not be afraid, warriors. Above all else, you must not disappoint the numerous ancestral spirits behind you.”
With calmness returning, he walked through the crowd of silent lizardmen to Zaryusu’s side.
“Younger brother, what action has the opponent taken?”
“Hmm, older brother, although they have begun to move… they do not appear to be preparing for battle.”
The five hundred skeletons which had begun to move formed into ten ranks.
“Just what are they planning to do?”
Zenberu’s whisper reflected the thoughts of everyone. They were not just reforming ranks. Then, as if waiting for that question, the skeletons moved again.
Under perfect and precise commands, the legion parted to either side from the centre. What appeared from the gap of approximately twenty skeletons in width was… a figure.
That figure was not very large. Even if it was about two hundred and fifty centimetres in height, it was possible to see that the figure was shorter than Zaryusu. That person wore a pitch-black robe, in its hand was a black misty staff-like object.
It was an appearance similar to that of the lich yesterday. It was probably a magic caster as well.
Seeing that figure, Zaryusu felt his back getting the shivers.
He felt that it was far more powerful than the lich yesterday.
[… Oh, oh!]
The lizardmen which were nervously watching this Magic Caster let out a panicked sound altogether. At this moment, an enormous hemisphere-shaped magic array approximately ten metres in diameter expanded outwards with the magic caster at the centre.
A blue and white radiance floated on the surface of the magic array, with semi-translucent markings which looked like it could be words or symbols. Those semi-translucent markings were rapidly changing, and at any given moment none of the words were the same.
Since the sunlight was blocked, the lizardmen could clearly see that scene.
If a non-hostile existence was doing this, the lizardmen felt that this could be an illusion. The blue clear light changed its figure, and illuminated the surroundings.
However, under these conditions they could not be entranced by it.
Being unable to understand what exactly it was, Zaryusu felt confused.
When a magic caster used magic, they would not make such a magic array in the air like this.What the other side was doing was something outside of Zaryusu’s knowledge. So, he asked the most well versed woman in magic in this place.
“What exactly is that?”
“I-I don’t know. I cannot figure out what that is either—”
Crusch’s reply was a bit terrified. It looked like she was even more frightened because she possessed knowledge about magic yet was unable to understand that behaviour.
Just at the moment that Zaryusu was planning to comfort her…
Not knowing if the magic had successfully activated, the magic array broke apart, becoming numerous light particles flying towards the sky. In the next instant— like there had been an explosion in the sky, the particles spread out—
The lizardmen did not know
And the world did not know
This was the first time such a magic was used in this world.
This was on par with the highest magic from 500 and 200 years before.
One of the Overrank magic—-A magic that could that the world.
And the lake—-
There was no one there that understood what had just happened. Yes, all the lizardmen there.
Shasuryu who was a tribe leader with outstanding qualifications; Crusch who had extraordinary druid powers; even Zaryusu the traveller who had seen much and had a wide breadth of knowledge. Even these individuals, who within lizardmen history could be considered to possess miraculous abilities, could not immediately comprehend the current situation.
No way of understanding why their own feet were inside ice.
Before long— after enough time had passed for the brain to accept the situation before their eyes— a crying rang out—
Every lizardmen— indeed, everybody let out a lamenting cry.
Even Zaryusu was the same. Crusch and Shasuryu, and even the most courageous Zenberu, were no exception. As if terror crept out from the depths of their souls, everybody could not help but scream.
It was such terrifying truth. The lake will never freeze. It was a truth since they were born.
But, it was destroyed when the lake froze.
Ice was something within their knowledge. All the lizardmen thought that.
That fear was the equivalent of humans seeing the sun rising from the west.
The lizardmen frantically lifted their feet. Luckily the layer of ice was not thick, and broke immediately, but the broken areas immediately froze up again. A chilling cold vapour came from underneath, making it painfully obvious that this sight was not an illusion.
After Zaryusu agitatedly clambered up the mud wall, he immediately surveyed the surroundings, then was stunned into silence by what he saw from his widened point of view.
All of the lake within their vision was frozen—-That was the scene they saw.
The lake was about 20 kilometres in all four directions. All of it that they could see was frozen.
“That can’t be…”
Crusch, who had also climbed up, looked around and was lost for words just like Zaryusu. From her gaping mouth, she let out a despaired voice.
Like Zaryusu, she did not wish to believe that this scene she saw before her was real.
The lake that would never freeze. There was nothing that could make it freeze. Yes. They could not believe the scene they were seeing.
Just how much power did one have to have to make such a thing possible?
“Get up here, quick!”
Shasuryu’s roar rang in the air. Surprised at it, Zaryusu and Crusch looked down at the bottom of the wall.
Several lizardmen fell down powerlessly. There were not many, but they dotted the surroundings. The ones that were still fine, mostly the warriors, worked together to pull the fallen lizardmen from the frozen ground.
The lizardmen that were pulled up all had lost colour in their faces. Their bodies shivered.
From what Zaryusu could tell, this was a result of their body temperatures dropping. The freezing temperatures was seeping their life force away.
“Older brother, I’ll go check on the others!”
Zaryusu who wielded Frost Pain could not be affected by this degree of influence from the cold air.
“No… Do not go!”
“Why, older brother?!”
“The enemy will probably start moving in a short moment. You are not permitted to leave! Grasp the overall situation, do not let any information slip! This is something which can only be entrusted to you who have wandered across the world and acquired various kinds of knowledge.”
“But we should preserve our magic power….”
“Fool! Do not mess up our priorities!”
Moving his gaze from Zaryusu, Shasuryu talked to the surrounding warrior class lizardmen.
“Right now I will be casting some ice resistance magic upon you all, ‘Protection Energy Ice’. Quickly go and inform every single person in the village, and avoid coming into contact with the ice.”
“I will also assist with casting the magic.”
“Then, Crusch, let us act separately. If any individual is discovered to be in an emergency situation, immediately cast healing magic!”
Crusch and Zaryusu cast six lizardmen with protection magic.
Zaryusu stayed on the wall, and stared at their formation. The thing he should be doing was just as Shasuryu said. He sent the enemy a sharp gaze, not letting any movement by him.
Unease passed by Zaryusu’s brain. Was it fine to grasp this magic caster who could freeze the lake with normal eyes. Or would he break them trying to.
However, was it fine to say that he was too scared, and could not see the enemy’s movements. Could he make such an excuse? It was imperative to carry out the task given to him by his brother with perfection.
Zenberu who had climbed up to Zaryusu’s side gazed leisurely at the enemy’s position.
“You need to relax a bit. Your older brother is looking forward to your wisdom right? Even if you miss something, he won’t blame you. The more important thing is to not be too hooked up in it, and end up narrowing your vision.”
Zenberu in his carefree voice had given Zaryusu a sharp warning.
It was just as he said. Zaryusu was not alone. He was fighting with his comrades. Every did what he or she could do.
Zaryusu shifted his gaze.
All the warriors apart from Zenberu climbed on the mud wall, and looked at the enemy.
Yes, he was not fighting alone. It seems that he who had witnessed that overwhelming power — magic — had been shaken.
Zaryusu exhaled one giant breath, as if to get rid of his internal worries all in one go.
“There’s nothing to be sorry about.”
“… That’s right, because you, Zenberu, are also here.”
“Ha, don’t look to me for matters which concern thinking.”
The two of them laughed at each other, then continued to observe the enemy’s movement.
“However, that really is a true monster.”
“Yeah! It is basically on a completely different level…”
The magic caster had the insufferably arrogant posture of a king, and pompously gazed in the direction of Zaryusu and their village. That supposedly quite small body seemed expanded by ten times its size.
“… He should be the one referred to as the Supreme One.”
“That ought to be pretty spot on. Furthermore, I really hope there are no others powerful enough to cast magic that freezes the entire lake.”
“That’s right, and I hope so too. In the eyes of that monster who is even able to freeze the lake, we lizardmen are no more than ants. Ah~ what a shame! We’re no different than small insects.”
Zaryusu had no words. Because Zaryusu was thinking the same thing.
“The words ‘resist’ seem stupid now.”
“….If they do not allow us to surrender, what should we do?”
Zenberu looked at Zaryusu in surprise. Then he smiled.
“Then we shall all commit suicide in the name of an ‘attack’. Well, this will be a good experience. Being the opponent of an existence that can turn the world upside down.”
“….You did not waver.”
“….Are you…. Praising me?”
“By the way….They’re moving.”
The magic caster who froze the lake raised the hand which was not holding onto a staff, and gave a wave in the direction of the village.
As if answering, a troop of fully armoured, knight-like warriors came out from the forest. There were not many of them. They numbered forty.
They were about 2.3 metres tall.
Their left hands held a large tower shield that covered ¾ of their body, and they wore a black full plate armour. Vein-like crimson patterns ran around their body. Different from practical items, spikes sprouted on their armour and expressed violence.
In their hands was a six metre long spear. On the spear that suited lanced calvary, a cloth was spread.
They were flags.
They were clothed in a pitch black mantle, they flawlessly stepped into the wetlands. With the ice breaking at their feet, they silently marched forward.
With perfect movements, they made space in between them and crossed flags with the opposite soldier.
As the flags overlapped, and the 40 different patterns of the cloth lowered down, a path was made.
“… Is that a path for the king?”
Zenberu was correct.
The magic caster slowly walked on the frozen lake.
Several shadows followed behind him.
At the front, was the magic caster who froze the lake, and the one with bottomless power. Anymore and it made one wonder what should he be called. It was shorter than the average lizardman, but hidden inside was a despairing power, a monster.
On his body he wore a pitch-black changpao, so dark that it looked as if it had been cut from a piece of the night, and in his hand he held a staff which radiated a black aura. That radiating aura seemed to form into agonised human expressions, which collapsed and disappeared.
Even under the hood was a skull, with vacant eye sockets which had a shining small red light in either of them.
The opponent wore innumerable magic accessories which were absolutely beyond Zaryusu’s comprehension, and walked forward at a commensurate pace with the authority of a king.
Just behind the magic caster at his left and right was a dark elf girl and a silver-haired girl.
The dark elf girl had golden silk-like hair cut to her shoulder. Her heterochromatic eyes were gold and purple.
Her ears were long and sharp, and her skin was a light brown. It was a skin colour held by the close relatives of elves, the dark elves.
On top of her skintight armour, she wore black and red dragon scales pasted on it, and on top of that she wore a white vest with golden lining. He chest had a symbol on it.
Her waist had a whip attached, and her back had a large bow, the handle, rim, and grip having decorations engraved on them.
The silver-haired girl was dressed in a soft pitch black ball gown.
The skirt portion was inflated, and had a large volume to it. The length of the skirt was quite long, and completely hid her legs. Her Bolero cardigan had frills and ribbons attached and it covered her shoulders and chest. Due to her wearing fingerless gloves, most of her body was hidden.
What was exposed was a beautiful face, to the extent that even a first class work of art would feel ashamed to be in front of her. She had white skin, a paleness that could be in no way healthy. Her long silver hair was bound to one side, and flowed down.
Even though lizardmen had no well established sense of beauty, the two of them were gorgeous.
And the last one was—-
“He can’t be… a Demon?”
Zenberu had a question look in response to Zaryusu’s whisper.
Demons were those who used violence to bring about destruction, and Devils were those who used their intelligence to bring about depravity. These kinds of otherworldly existences grouped together were referred to as demons. It is said that they are atrocious monsters which existed solely for the extermination of all sentient and good living beings. They were also synonymous with the word ‘evil’.
While in human society, this was something well known, but the lizardman society was different. In this case, Zenberu not knowing anything was the norm. Lizardmen who lived together with nature, the existence of demons was something located far from their themselves. This was due to a simple difference in culture, and because they were isolated.
Zaryusu had once before heard about demons during his travels.
He had heard how terrifying demons were. It was said that two hundred years ago, a being known as the king of the demons — the Demon God — had led demons under his banner, and had almost exterminated the entire world.
The Demon God had met his end at the hands of the thirteen heroes which vanquished him, and in a certain place it was still possible to see traces of that battle.
If undead could be described as creatures which detested the living, then demons were creatures which tormented the living.
That demon was two metres tall, and his skin was a sparkling red. His clean cut pitch black hair had a glistening luster.
His red eyes sparkled with intelligence, and front facing goat-like horns sprung from his temples, and pitch black giant wings grew from his back.
His sharply clawed hands grasped a scepter, and a red beautiful robe adorned him, and he had a king’s dignity.
They walked in silence, under the forty flags. The distance they walked was 160 metres. It was 90 more metres to the village. Then, they stopped.
Just what were they doing.
Several lizardmen looked at each other in unease. Then they asked the smartest lizardmen here.
“… Please tell us, what we should do, Zaryusu-san? Should we prepare for battle?”
“No, that will not be necessary. Think about the previous lich. Our opponent is a magic caster who is by far more superior to that lich, and making an attack at this distance should be child’s play for him. The most frightening thing is… what kind of words does he have for us.”
The lizardmen revealed an expression of agreement.
Without letting his gaze move, Zaryusu continued his observation.
At this distance, he could make quite detailed observations. Yes, it was the distance where they could look into each other eyes.
The magic caster standing at the front was looking here as well. Under these conditions, the dark elf surprisingly did not have any hostility in her gaze.The silver-haired girl had a mocking smile. The demon had some kindness, but it was terrifying.
Some time looking at each other passed, and the magic caster standing in front once again raised his empty hand. Responding to that, several lizardmen waved their tails in unease.
“—Do not be afraid. Do not put an embarrassing display in front of our opponent.”
Zaryusu’s razor-sharp rebuke made all of the lizardmen at the scene immediately raise their heads and straighten their backs.
And a black mist appeared in front of the magic caster without any relation to Zaryusu and the rest.
It numbered twelve.
While spiraling and becoming larger, the black fog eventually became about 150 centimetres. There were countless faces that were formed within the fog.
Zaryusu recalled. The monster that came as a messenger. And that undead monster he met on his travels.
Since it could use mental attacks, it was an ethereal monster that Zaryusu had a hard time fighting. Since it was ethereal, unless one attacked with magic weapons, certain metals or martial arts, it was difficult to damage it.
Even with the combined might of the lizardmen, their amount of magic weapons was small. So, defeating one was extremely difficult.
12 of such monsters. And they were so easily created—-
A truth he did not want to admit was the truth. Zaryusu looked at the surrounding lizardmen. They did not understand the level of what the magic caster just did, and only showed some surprise at it. With a small sigh of relief, Zaryusu looked at the magic caster.
He understood. But he could understand why such a powerful lich would pledge his allegiance to such an existence.
Zaryusu thought so as he despaired.
The magic caster whispered something, and waved his hand, telling them to leave. Then, the undead flew around the village.
They spoke in unison.
[The Supreme One transmits his message to you as such.]
[The Supreme One requests a dialogue. Will the representative please step forward.]
[Should you waste our time, it shall only serve to aggravate the Supreme One.]
However, what was even harder to believe was when the silver haired girl, who was waiting at attention at the back, forcefully used both hands to make a clap once she received her instructions from the magic caster.
At the moment of the hand clap— those undead were exterminated.
Zaryusu, who had taken in a large shock, involuntarily shouted out.
Since that move was not to return the summoned monsters, but to exterminate them.
Extermination of undead. This was an action that priests could do. Normally repelling them took a lot, but when there was a gap in their strengths, it was possible to not only repel but to exterminate.However, when exterminating large numbers of undead, the difficult jumped, such a level of power needed.
Basically the silver haired girl had that power.
And to just transmit a message, he used undead of such strength.
“Ku ku ku—-”
Zaryusu unconsciously began to laugh. The surrounding lizardmen, Zenberu included, looked at him with suspicious gazes. Ignoring them, Zaryusu’s laugh became louder.
“W, what is wrong, Zaryusu?”
“N, no nothing—-Ku ku.”
Zaryusu’s laughter did not stop.
It was natural. What could he do except for laugh. When shown a power gap of this magnitude—-
“—Ah, older brother!”
Reacting to the voice from the bottom of the wall, he saw the figures of Shasuryu and Crusch. The two climbed the mud wall, and looked at the magic caster and his entourage. Crusch forced her way in between Zenberu and Zaryusu. This caused Zenberu to almost fall off, but well, it was forgiven.
“Is that the enemy’s leader? The atmosphere around him is so strong that merely looking at him will cause people’s bones to chill. Although the appearance is similar to the lich which you defeated… but the strength of both individuals simply cannot be compared…”
“I know right. He’s so small, but he is 100% a monster.”
“It is just as Zenberu said. Older brother. The people behind him are also in another league.”
“—-Eh!? Is that a demon? He controls a demon? That magic caster?”
“So it seems, Crusch. He is not an existence that can be controlled by a demon.”
“I can’t believe it. What is the dark elf doing beside them? She seems human though….”
“She is not a simple human. The knights holding the flags behind are probably quite strong enemies as well.”
“If we attack how can we defeat them?”
There was no one that could answer Zenberu’s question. They could make some predictions, but if they were voiced, the morale of the surrounding lizardmen would plummet.
“….By the way, is my brother finished?”
“Yes, mostly. He heard the words of the messenger.”
“I see, that’s true.”
The degree of priority of what the messenger said was much higher.
“….Yes. We have to do that first. What the messenger said….Zaryusu, can you come with me?”
Zaryusu looked silently at Shasuryu for a while, then nodded gravely. Shasuryu momentarily showed an anguished look, but immediately returned to normal, so fast that nobody had noticed his expression.
“Don’t mind it, older brother.”
Shasuryu had only apologised before jumping off the mud wall, treading on the thin layer of ice coating the wetlands, and letting out splashing sounds.
“I’m off then.”
Zaryusu and Shasuryu treaded across the thin ice above the lake, moving forward together. After they walked through the main entrance, Zaryusu felt the magic caster’s group gaze intently at the two of them, as if their gazes carried actual pressuring strength. He desperately restrained his strong emotions telling him not to get away.
At this moment, Shasuryu spoke out.
“… Sorry for what, older brother?”
“… If negotiations fall apart, the opponent may perhaps kill the two of us there and then.”
Zaryusu’s response was short. That was why he hugged Crusch.
“You have a wife—-”
“… Considering the opponent’s numbers, I cannot allow older brother to go forward alone. If you were by yourself, the opponent would probably also form the opinion that we are not paying them enough respect.”
Amongst lizardmen, Zaryusu was indeed widely known, and extremely suitable to take part in negotiations. However, his identity was that of a traveller, therefore even if he were sacrificed, it would not affect the lizardmen group structure. From this perspective, his loss would not be regretted.
Even if the hero were to be killed, so long as there were other remaining tribe chiefs, the battle could be continued.
The two of them continued silently forward.
The distance closed, and they could clearly see their opponents. It was understandable, but the magic caster’s entourage was calmly standing on the thin ice. It was not a problem that they were light, but were using some sort of magic.
The distance went close to zero, and became one that was suitable for discussions.
Zaryusu and Shasuryu’s hearts beated sharply. It was with a force that almost seemed to make them jump out of their chests.
The reason was their worry.
How should they discuss in fron of these pressurising strong people. Since that was unclear, they were under immense pressure.
Originally, it might have been better to depreciate themselves. However, that might cause the other party to lose interest and decide to kill all of them. However, what would happen if that was considered disrespectful.
What was correct, they completely did not understand.
It was like going barefoot in the dark with sharp weapons scattered on the floor.
“Our delegation has arrived! I am the lizardmen representative, Shasuryu Shasha, the strongest hero amongst the lizardmen!”
“I am Zaryusu Shasha!”
There was no response. The magic caster’s entourage only gazed at them from above, and they showed no sign of making a move.
Even ignoring the fact they wanted a negotiations, it was a strange attitude. What was wrong. Zaryusu and Shasuryu looked at each other. Did they make a mistake.
The one who replied was the demon.
“Our master does not consider that you have not entered into a listening posture which demonstrates respect.”
Suddenly, Zaryusu and Shasuryu knelt down, with their heads buried into the wetlands. Their actions made it look like these two persons thought it was only natural to do.
The cold mud stained the two persons’ bodies, and the shattered ice blocks immediately froze up again.
It was impossible to stand up. Even if they used their entire body’s strength, their bodies did not budge. As if there was an invisible giant hand which was pressing down on them from above, their bodies had completely lost all freedom of movement.
“[Do not Resist].”
The moment those words were said, Zaryusu and Shasuryu’s bodies ignored their will and slackened.
The two unsightly prostrated in the mud. As if he were satisfied at the scene, the demon separated away slightly, talked to his master. Zaryusu could not see it, but he heard.
“Ainz-sama, their respectful listening postures are prepared.”
“Thank you for your hard work— Raise your heads.”
“[Permitted to Raise your Heads].”
Moving their head, which was the only part they could move, Zaryusu and Shasuryu looked up at the magic caster in front of them.
“I am… the master of the Great Tomb of Nazarick, Ainz Ooal Gown. First, I give you my thanks for helping me complete my experiment.”
Hearing the words without any actual sense of gratitude, a fierce anger welled up in Zaryusu’s heart for an instant. A whirl of emotions flared up after feeling disgusted that lives of lizardmen were stolen due to an experiment.
However, he immediately suppressed it, and hid it completely.
It was natural. The existence in front of him had a power beyond his imagination. He could not even imagine what would happen if he displeased the monster that could freeze the lake.
Death was bliss. A hell that would make them think that would not be strange.
But, they had no desire to excessively flatter him.
“The ones behind me are my subordinates, and since they have no particular relation to this I shall not introduce them. Now, the main point….Enter under my rule.”
Ainz the magic caster gently raised his hand, stopping Shasuryu who desired to speak out.
Knowing that insisting on speaking out would not be wise, Shasuryu could only obediently stay silent.
“— However you defeated us earlier, which should mean that you are unwilling to accept my authority. This is why we shall attack again four hours later. If you are still able to win, I promise to take no further action against you, and will even guarantee to support reasonable compensation to you.”
“… May I please ask a question?”
“You may, ask away.”
“The one who will be attacking… will it be Gown-dono?”
The silver-haired girl standing at the back raised her brow slightly and the demon smiled more deeply, possibly because they were unsatisfied with the dono title. However, they did not make any particular action, perhaps because the master did not say anything about it.
Ainz ignored those two people, and continued talking.
“How can that be possible. I will not be taking action myself. Instead, the one who will be attacking will be my trustworthy aide… furthermore I will only be sending out one person. He is called Cocytus.”
Hearing these words, Zaryusu felt a deep despair as if the world had ended.
If it were a large army that would attack, perhaps the lizardmen would have a chance of victory. This meant that, at first, he had believed that this time could also be a continuation of yesterday’s unfortunate battle which was called an experiment. If it were like that, then there should still be a miniscule chance of victory.
However, it was not going to be so.
The one attacking would only be one person.
The previously defeated army had once again made such a big declaration, but would only send one person this time. Unless it was a punishment, or there was some hidden meaning behind his words, he must have complete faith in that person.
A close aid that had the trust of the existence of such power.
That aid would also have such despairing power….To the point that the lizardmen would have no chance of winning.
“We choose to surren…”
“Losing without a fight is simply too boring. Do put up a bit of a fight, we would also like to have a taste of victory.”
Ainz interrupted Shasuryu, not allowing him to continue.
So blatantly, he would make an example out of us, this bastard.
Zaryusu spat out those words in his head. However, he understood that making such a mask was correct.
Ainz did not feel the slightest rage from having the troops destroyed in the experiment. However, there was a chance that rule would not go well since there was truth of defeat. Especially when the lizardmen placed emphasis on strength.
That was why he had to show a pressurising strength.
What that meant was that in a moment the opponent would be carrying out a live sacrifice.
It would be a performance, eradicating the rebellious lizardmen.
“That is all that I wish to say. Then, four hours later, do your best to enjoy it.”
“Please wait a minute— will this ice melt away?”
Regardless of who won or lost, with the lake frozen, the lizardmen would find it very difficult to survive. The ice was not thick, but the cold that accompanied it was fierce. Touching it was inviting death from the cold.
“… Ah, I almost forgot.”
He forgot. He replied in such a carefree manner. No, actually, Zaryusu understood that from Ainz’s perspective it was not important. It was natural. From the perspective of such a strong existence, a cold of this level was nothing much.
“I only wished not to dirty myself with the wetlands mud as I walked, which is why, after returning to the shore, the magic effect will be dispelled.”
Zaryusu and Shasuryu swallowed in surprise.
What did this monster say—-
He did not want to be dirtied by the mud so he froze the lake?
This was no longer at the level of being hard to believe.
The opponent’s strength was simply too overwhelming, even able to easily change the force of nature, and furthermore for such a silly reason.
So it turned out that they were opposing such a powerful being— Zaryusu and Shasuryu both felt the same fear as a child would being all alone.
“Until next time, lizardmen—-”
After Ainz decided that he had said everything he wanted to say, he lightly waved his hand and turned around. He had no more interest. That was what his attitude said.
“Goodbye, Mr. Lizardmen.”
The two silent girls behind him, said so, and followed behind Ainz.
“[Freedom Granted]. Then, try to enjoy it as best you can, lizardmen.”
The demon left behind spoke kindly, and also turned his back and walked.
Zaryusu and Shasuryu who were left behind stayed in the mud, they no longer had any energy to stand.The extreme cold no longer caused any pain. The shock they received in their hearts was too strong.
However, they watched as the group of monsters silently left them.
Shasuryu cursed in a low voice, quite unlike his personality, and contained in it was a mix of many emotions.
The two were welcomed back by the various tribe chiefs who had climbed on top of the mud wall in order to avoid the cold gas. Zenberu, Crusch, the chiefs of Small Fang and Razor Tail.
There were no other lizardmen in the surroundings.
Possibly, this was arranged because they had already considered early on that there were some matters which needed to be discussed in confidentiality. Shasuryu roughly thought that this was the case, and that there was no need to conceal it any further. He then directly informed everybody of what he had gathered about the progression of that meeting that hardly could called a proper negotiation.
Nobody had too much of a reaction, except for being slightly alarmed, towards Shasuryu’s explanation which was said in a heavy tone. They were most likely like this because they had probably predicted the conclusion of the negotiation from a long while back.
“Understood… then the ice will melt, right? If it does not melt, then we won’t be able to fight even if we wanted to.”
“Not a problem. The opponent said that the magic would be dispelled.”
“Was this an exchange brought about by the negotiation?”
Towards the question posed by the Small Fang Tribe chief, Shasuryu did not reply, but merely smiled a little. Seeing that reaction, and understanding what it meant, the tribe chief of the Small Fang Tribe shook his head disheartedly.
“When you were heading to the negotiations, we conducted an investigation… and discovered the shadows of enemies inside of the lake which look like skeleton soldiers. We fear that they are in a formation surrounding us and awaiting orders.”
“I do not think… our opponent… plans to let us go.”
“The opponent was quite serious, so this means…”
“That is only speculation.”
The four who had not participated in the negotiations gave a long sigh. The conclusion that they had reached should also be a belief that what would follow was a live sacrificial ritual.
“Then what shall we do?”
“… Mobilise all warrior class lizardmen, and also… the ones here…”
“Older brother… can you permit only five people to participate?”
Out of the corner of his eye, Zaryusu saw the puzzled expression on Crusch’s face. He continued, appealing towards all of the male lizardmen including his older brother.
“If the opponent’s objective is to demonstrate his own powerful strength, then lizardmen shouldn’t be exterminated completely. Therefore, we need an individual who is able to lead, a central figure to bring together all of the survivors. If all of the people here were to lose their lives, it would be a huge loss for the future of lizardmen.”
“… That is a valid point. Isn’t that right, Shasuryu.”
“Hmm, Zaryusu… is correct.”
The two tribe chiefs alternatively looked at Zaryusu and Crusch, then both expressed their agreement.
“— There’s nothing unacceptable with that; I also agree.”
After the approval of the final tribe chief Zenberu, Shasuryu could not find any reasons to refuse his younger brother’s request.
“Our decision is thus settled then. I have also thought about it, that it is necessary to have someone survive to lead and bring together the tribes— Crusch should be very suitable to carry out this responsibility. Her albinism may perhaps be a hindrance, but her abilities as a druid are indispensable.”
“Wait a moment. I also want to fight together!”
Crusch understood the content of the words and cried out. Why was she being left behind now.
She came here, decided to fight such an existence, and had prepared herself to lose her life. Then why.
Those thoughts caused her to shout out.
“Furthermore, if we were to leave one person behind, wouldn’t leaving behind Shasuryu be better? He is the most trusted tribe leader amongst us!”
“And that is exactly why we cannot leave him behind. The opponent’s objective is to demonstrate overwhelming force, probably in hopes that we will despair, so that we will submit to his authority easier. However, what would happen if there was someone amongst the survivors they could pin their hopes on, hmm?”
“And… amongst the tribe chiefs present, the one with the lowest popularity is Crusch.”
Crusch was speechless. It was an indisputable fact that she as an albino had the lowest popularity.
Knowing that nothing she said would convince them, Crusch fixated on Zaryusu.
“I also want to go together. When you called me here, you had already decided let me make my own decision, so why do you still say such words?”
“… Because at that time, everybody would very likely all be killed, but now we have a relatively large opportunity to allow one person to survive.”
“Don’t joke with me!”
The air was shaking as if it were echoing Crusch’s anger. Because of her agitated emotions, the sound of the mud wall being slapped numerous times could be heard as Crusch’s tail went into an uncontrollable frenzy.
“—Zaryusu, you convince her. See you again in four hours’ time.”
Shasuryu threw down these words before departing quickly with long strides, followed by the sound of shattering ice and splashing water. Three tribe chiefs jumped down the mud wall and followed Shasuryu. Zenberu also had his back towards the two as he waved his hand gently to give his regards.
After seeing them off, Zaryusu turned to face Crusch.
“Crusch, please understand.”
“How can I understand! And it is not a given that you will lose! If you had the support of my druid powers, perhaps you may win!”
This sentence was so hollow that even Crusch who said it did not believe in it herself.
“I do not wish for my loved female lizardmen to be killed. Please fulfil this foolish male lizardman’s desire.”
Crusch showed a pained expression, and hugged Zaryusu.
“You’re too selfish!”
“You might die.”
Indeed, the chance of surviving was incredibly low. No, rather it could be said with certainty that there was no chance of surviving.
“In just one short week, you’ve already captured my heart, yet you still tell me to watch helplessly as you get killed?”
“Meeting you was my stroke of luck, but also my misfortune.”
Crusch who was hugging Zaryusu’s torso tightened her grip, as if she had no intentions of letting go.
Zaryusu made no noise.
What should he say? What could he say? His thoughts all along had been stuck on the same problem.
After a period of time, Crusch raised her head, with her expression filled with determination.
Zaryusu felt uncomfortable in his heart as he sensed that Crusch would be adamant about coming along. At this moment, Crusch spoke a few words concisely to Zaryusu.
“—Get me pregnant.”
Being pulled by Crusch, Zaryusu began walking.