War Part 11
Translators: Skythewood, Frostfire10
The lizardmen traversed the wetlands, forming up between the enemy skeleton army and the village.
There was no particular formation, the lizardmen simply gathered randomly as they waited for the upcoming battle. The only clear arrangement was that the various tribe chiefs, Zaryusu and the two swamp elementals were standing in front.
Among the lizardmen, there was the delicate atmosphere of tension in the air.
The skeletons suddenly banged on their shields and marched forward.
If the timing was even slightly off, it would just sound like random noise from a marching army, but the movements of the 5000 of them were in sync and the sound was as one. In a different setting, this performance would be worthy of applause and praise.
While the sound drew the attention of the lizardmen, to the rear of the skeletons— several trees in the forest fell.
The trunks of trees were not thin. They could be called large trees. Someone cut them down.
This caused a commotion among the lizardmen. The sensible and the quick witted ones were the first to notice.
As they couldn’t see how it was done, it might be possible that this was a handiwork of several beings. However, the timing between the felling of each tree was too tidy. The feeling that this was the work of just one being.
In addition, there was no shaking of the tree, proof that a blade was cut into it, before it fell. It seemed impossible, but it was being cut down in one slice
Just how strong did one have to be to make this possible.
The sounds of the skeletons banging on their shields and the sound of trees falling reached the lizardmen.
Anxious feelings welled up. This was expected, how could anyone keep calm in such a situation.
Even Zenberu, Zaryusu and Shasuryu were shaken.
Moments later, the one opening a path in the forest revealed itself. At the same time, the banging of the shields stopped.
It was a smooth blue mass. If not for the thick clouds, there was no telling how bright his reflection would be.
That large body of 250cm in height looked like an insect standing on two legs. The appearance was like that of an ant or mantis, a hybrid born of a twisted devil. His face also looked like the mix of an ant and mantis.
Its hard exoskeleton had a frosty air about it, sparkling like diamond dust.
It had a spiked tail that was twice its height and powerful jaws that looked powerful enough to chew off a human arm in one bite.
He had four clawed arms with shiny gauntlets gracing each one. He was not holding any weapons, so they wondered how the trees fell. The questions never ended.
A round golden necklace was worn around its neck.
The powerful being made its appearance.
So this is Cocytus?
Zaryusu’s heart raced and his breathing became ragged.
Their instinct was rampant, telling them they were in front of something they could not defeat. That they should run away.
None of the lizardmen spoke. Their eyes were drawn to the monster that showed itself, unable to shift their gaze away. They understood that if they did, it would be the end.
Several unconscious stepped back. No, not several. Almost all the lizardmen did.
“Do not fear!”
Shasuryu’s shout of rage rang. Many lizardmen seemed to have electricity run through their shaking bodies.
“Do not pull back! Warriors! If we defeat that, it’s our victory! Do not fear and face forward!”
The lizardmen regained their fighting spirit. However, Zaryusu understood. There was a slight wavering of fear in his b rother’s voice.
Cocytus drew near slowly.
He walked into the wetlands, passing the skeletons with swagger—
Cocytus stopped about thirty metres before the lizardmen, on top of a small knoll. Cocytus then moved his insect like face on his long neck. He seemed to be searching for someone.
Zaryusu felt Cocytus’ gaze rested on him for a brief moment.
“—Alright, Ainz-sama is watching, so show your might..”
Cocytus extended one of his arm, bending a thin finger, gesturing at them to come at him. Facing the taunt of the enemy, Shasuryu yelled at the top of his voice.
While roaring from the bottom of their hearts, 321 people, (316 warriors, 4 chiefs and Zaryusu) ran towards Cocytus across the wetlands.
Cocytus looked coldly at the warriors charging him.
“….There are many. I should first cut down the numbers.”
Cocytus released his sealed aura.
[Frost Aura] was a skill of the Knight of Niflheim class. That enhanced extreme cold instantly covered a 100 metre radius circle.
From the extreme cold, the sudden change in temperature, the atmosphere screamed.
As if a shockwave occurred, the wall of air from Cocytus smashed into Zaryusu’s body. The winds rapidly stole his body temperature, and an extreme cold covered Zaryusu’s body.
A sharp pain assaulted Zaryusu.
There was not much physical shock, but the change in the air, the extreme cold caused a pain that could rival it.It penetrated through Frost Pain’s cold resistance, and damaged him. To those without it, this place was hell.
The cold damage was not as bad as the ability of Frost Pain which could be used thrice per day [Icy Burst]. It could be described as half of that.
However, compared to Frost Pain’s Icy Burst which was instantaneous, this extreme cold was like a poison covering their body every second. As time passed, having this cold penetrate their body would bring them close to death.
Then, attack or retreat.
There were only two ways to deal with it. And there was no way to retreat from the beginning. If they did, then everything would disappear.
Attack. Zaryusu was about to shout that, when the cold entered his lungs and choked him. The pain in his throat calmed Zaryusu down.
Zaryusu and the chiefs had already made their decisions. However they brought the ignorant lizardmen here. A strong sense of guilt attacked Zaryusu.
The opponent’s goal was not to annihilate them. It was just to show an overwhelming difference in strength.
Then, just this should have shown that. If Zaryusu and the chiefs sacrificed themselves, it might be enough. It might be a naive thought, but the thought surfaced in Zaryusu’s heart.
Originally he naturally understood that it would be wrong to leave Shasuryu behind to command.
However, Zaryusu changed the words he should have said.
Of course, this action was wrong.
He understood that this was sitting on the fence. He understood everyone gathered here, the village, were all sacrifices. That was why they were gathered. However, he did not wish for any sacrifices.
If there was the possibility of no one dying, he would have wanted to choose that one.
That was why, he said this.
“Retreat! Retreat back!”
—However, it was too late.
The lizardmen heard his words, and started to retreat away from the pain. However, the radius of Cocytus’ Frost Aura was 100 metres. It was not a distance weak existences could pass.
Several metres. That was the limit of the lizardmen.
Firstly, their movements were dulled, and they fell into the cold water where ice seemed to be able to form. They had no ability to move, and only froze to death.
The 316 warrior class lizardmen. All of them fell weakly. And they easily welcomed death.
Yes, even approaching Cocytus was not forgiven.
“Hmm. About this.”
Following Cocytus’ bored voice, the freezing cold disappeared. As if everything up to now was a lie. However, the corpses of the 316 was the proof that it occurred.
Only five lizardmen could still move.
They were the five strongest people among the lizardmen.
They immediately began moving as one.
A rock flew through the air. A lizardman in full body armor led the charge with two lizardmen following behind. The swamp elementals moved slowly behind the two lizardmen with their bodies that had cracked in the cold. The last lizardman at the back kept chanting spells.
The first strike was the rock aimed at Cocytus’ throat. However, that attack was meaningless because—
“—The equipment on all we Guardians provides absolute resistance against projectiles.”
—An invisible barrier seemed to deflected the rock.
The leading lizardman followed next, wearing one of the four treasures passed down from generation to generation— White Dragon Bone.
It was tough enough to block Frost Pain which was also one of the four treasures, the hardest armor known to lizardmen.
Cocytus who was facing him drew a sword out of thin air.
As if the blade was already there.
The oodachi Cocytus drew was 200 centimetres in length, and the blade was 150 centimetres. It was the Royal Blade God Slayer. It was the sharpest of among the twenty one weapons Cocytus possessed.
He then slashed at the lizardman before him.
The blade that sliced through the air made the air howl— a calm sound. In a different situation, one might want to listen carefully to this clean sound.
After that sound, the body of the tribal chief split in half together with the armor, falling to the left and right into the wetlands.
Royal Blade God Slayer was not damaged after cleaving the hardest armor of the lizardmen.
The two lizardmen behind weren’t fazed by the gruesome death of their comrade, attacking from either side with their weapons raised.
On the right side was Zenberu’s chop, powered by ‘Iron Natural Weapon’ and ‘Iron Skin’. It was directed at full power towards Cocytus’ face.
On the left side was Frost Pain, aimed at his abdomen.
This melee attack took advantage of the logic of long weapons being hard to use in close quarters.
And of course, that only applied to normal people.
Cocytus slightly turned and used his blade to block Zenberu’s arm from the right. His movement was smooth and elegant, as if the weapon in his hand was a part of his body.
With the ability of ‘Iron Skin’, Zenberu was on par with steel in term of hardness. But the clash with the armor earlier showed how sharp Royal Blade God Slayer was.
The blade slid into his arm smoothly as if it was slicing through water.
As blood spurted from Zenberu’s right stump, Cocytus’ other hand was already pinching Frost Pain that was aimed at his abdomen.
“— Oh, I see. This is a nice sword…”
Zaryusu gave up on the Frost Pain that couldn’t be moved and kicked Cocytus in the knee cap. Cocytus did not dodge and took the blow. In the end, it was Zaryusu who landed the blow that suffered intense pain.
It was the same sensation of kicking an iron wall with all your might.
“<Over Magic: Mass Cure Light Wounds>!”
After exhausting a large amount of mana, it enabled the use of higher tier magic that was not usually accessible— Shasuryu cast a mass healing spell boosted by magical enhancement.
Cocytus seemed intrigued as he stared at Shasuryu who used a spell modifier he did not know, but the two swamp elementals blocked his view. The swamp elementals moved in front of Zenberu, whose arm was regenerating from magic, and attacked Cocytus with their tentacles. Before their attacks even landed, Cocytus slashed at them impatiently.
As the swamp elementals crumbled into dust, Zaryusu’s fist landed on Cocytus’ solar plexus, abdomen and chest. And of course, the one injured was Zaryusu. The skin on his fist was torn and bleeding.
Cocytus swung his spiked tail hard at Zaryusu’s chest.
Zaryusu flew like a ball hit by a bat with a cracking sound, flying high and far before rolling onto the wetlands. He finally stopped after rolling on the wetlands, but the pain in his chest and the blood spilling from his throat made it hard to breathe.
The broken bones probably pierced his lungs, he couldn’t breathe in even if he wanted to, feeling like he was under water. The warm liquid spilling from his throat made him want to throw up. Zaryusu looked at his chest and saw blood bleeding from his wounds that was gored by sharp spikes.
—Just one hit, he was in this state. If only took one hit. One hit caused him to be in a half-dead state….
Zaryusu felt like a fool for underestimating the sheer strength of Cocytus’ existences. Zaryusu tried to breath with all his might glared with spirited eyes at Cocytus who might move in for the finishing blow.
“Since you still have the will to fight, I will return this to you.”
Frost Pain was casual thrown next to Zaryusu, who was covered in mud. Cocytus ignored him, and faced the rest.
Shasuryu cast healing magic on Zenberu who had regenerated his arm but lost a lot of stamina.
Right before Cocytus reached them, another rock came flying at him to divert his attention— But it was in vain as it was deflected easily.
Cocytus mumbled and extended his arm at the ‘Small Fang’ chief.
Dozens of icicles as thick as a human arm rained down in a wide area attack.
The lizardman who was within range was pierced by the icicles instantly.
One hit his chest, two hit his abdomen, one in his right thigh, all the icicles penetrated the lizardman’s body easily.
The chief of ‘Small Fang’— the lizardman with the best guerilla abilities fell dead into the wetlands like a puppet without strings.
“<Over Magic: Mass Cure Light Wounds>!”
Zenberu rushed forth as Shasuryu once again cast healing magic. Zenberu was buying time for Zaryusu to recover.
He knew that this was rash and how insignificant he was before the might of Cocytus. Even so, Zenberu did not hesitate charging ahead.
When Zenberu got within range, Cocytus slashed with Royal Blade God Slayer casually.
That slash was faster than Zenberu’s dynamic vision—
The speed was way faster than Zenberu’s agility—
The sword easily cut Zenberu’s body—
Blood gushed from the body of the decapitated Zenberu and he collapsed onto the wetlands. Moments later, the head fell onto the ground.
“… Well then, two left… I heard about your strength from Ainz-sama, so you two really are the ones to make it to the very end.”
Cocytus, who had not moved a single step since the battle, looked at the remaining duo and swung his blade. White smog seemed to come out from the blade there was no blood on it. The movement was so graceful it seemed capable of ridding the world of everything.
Zaryusu who had recovered enough to stand up and Shasuryu who drew the large sword on his back. The two of them faced Cocytus with a pincer formation. Zaryusu took some blood that was bleeding from his wound and paint it on his face.
It looked like war paint that was used to summon the ancestors to descend upon them.
“— Little brother, how’s your wounds?”
“Not good, my injuries are thumping dully. I can still swing my sword a few times though.”
“Is that so… That should do right? Actually, my mana is exhausted, I will collapse if I am not careful.”
Shasuryu grinded his teeth, he was probably laughing. Zaryusu’s expression changed when he heard that.
“… Is that so. You are pushing yourself too, older brother.”
Zaryusu exhaled gently with a smile and relaxed his shoulder. His sword bearing arm drooped down.
In front of the strong Cocytus, this was a posture full of openings. The reason why he could do this, was because he believed that Cocytus would not attack.
Cocytus was strong. Because of this, he would not attack someone who was weaker than him.
This was the pride of the strong. And the arrogance caused by the strong.
Zaryusu took a deep breath, and looked at Cocytus. And he thought.
He moved his gaze towards the decapitated Zenberu.
He felt nothing.
It was natural. When they fought with Cocytus, he believed that everyone would die.
Zaryusu and Shasuryu would die. In front of the absolutely strong, Cocytus, some level of strength had no meaning.
Even so—Zaryusu gripped Frost Pain.
An intense pain hit him in the chest, but Zaryusu tried his best to ignore it.
Don’t ever give up hope until the very last moment— Zaryusu will keep wielding his sword.
From the very beginning, he knew there was no chance of winning.
Defeat was inevitable, but he couldn’t just give up.
Giving up would mean conning countless lizardmen of their lives, lying to them that they would be victorious. Since there were lizardmen who believed this liar, he will not accept defeat.
Giving his all til the very last moment—
“I can still swing my sword!”
Zaryusu’s roar echoed out loud.
The sound of Cocytus’ teeth protruding out of his mouth clanking shut could be heard.
“A nice roar—”
Cocytus was probably laughing. That wasn’t the sound of the powerful looking down on the weak, but that of a warrior acknowledging his equal.
“Very well, younger brother. Let’s fight til the very end.”
Shasuryu laughed too. It was a laugh that was filled with pride for his brother, and one filled with the feeling of family.
“Okay… My apologies for keeping you waiting, Mr Cocytus.”
Cocytus merely shrugged in response to Shasuryu’s words.
“Don’t worry. Interrupting the last farewells of two brothers would be very rude. Prepare to die… Ah, it looks like you already did, didn’t you?”
In the face of Zaryusu and Shasuryu who took a step forth, Cocytus swung his blade and said.
“I would normally fight with a weapon in each hand… I am not demeaning you, but you are not strong enough for me to do so.”
“Such a pity.”
“Absolutely right— Let’s go!”
The two sprinted at Cocytus, splashing the waters in the wetlands.
The slight difference in the duo’s timing made Cocytus puzzled.
The two did not come in at the same time, Shasuryu came in slightly earlier. Did they mess up, thinking that, Cocytus immediately rejected it. He knew that they were not that sort of people.
Suspecting the enemy had a scheme in mind, Cocytus waited eagerly for their attack.
The first to get into range was Shasuryu and Cocytus kept a close eye on him, wondering what he will do.
Shasuryu stopped right outside the attack range of Cocytus sword—
— He cast a spell.
Numerous chains made from mud flew at Cocytus and Zaryusu used this chance to charge. To make it harder for his enemy to gauge his attack range, Zaryusu hid Frost Pain behind his back.
Shasuryu announcing that he had exhausted his mana had been just a trick to deceive Cocytus.
No matter how hard Cocytus’ exoskeleton was, Zaryusu should be able to break through by throwing everything he had behind a stabbing attack. Zaryusu who abandoned all defences in favor of offense will definitely yield a powerful attack.
Cocytus felt admiration for the bluff.
Normally, Cocytus might get constrained by the magical chains and be hit by Zaryusu who was attacking from behind.
However, they misjudged one thing.
Their opponent right now was the Guardian of Nazarick’s fifth floor.
“… The spell cast by those with a level lower than mine won’t break through my defence.”
The mud chain bounced off before it could physically touch Cocytus, falling back into the wetlands like slabs of mud. Low tier magic couldn’t penetrate Cocytus’ magic defence.
With a roar that came from behind his back, Cocytus was covered by a white fog around him.
Cocytus, who was completely immune to frost attacks, simply embraced the gentle freezing breeze as he waited for Zaryusu and Shasuryu to get into range.
One breath later, the moment he was waiting for came. But Cocytus hesitated slightly.
He wondering if cutting off their heads was enough to stop them.
When facing Zaryusu who had abandoned his defense, decapitating him might not halt his attack. The image of a headless body charging him appeared in Cocytus’ mind. If that was the case, he will take out the arms, then the head.
No, that is not a clean enough kill, I will finish him in one strike.
It was a mad rush completely ignoring Zaryusu’s defenses.
To Cocytus, it was an extremely slow speed.
In the white fog, Cocytus reached for the black shadow, Zaryusu and Frost Pain which his fingers and pinched the blade. He stopped Zaryusu, and swung his sword.
And then, there was only one more left.
Cocytus who felt disappointed was about to swing his sword when he shifted his gaze.
From the cold air, a roar and a great sword came swinging down. It was a strong blow that seem to blow away the fog.
Because it was a pincer attack, he needed to be prepared to be hit by one of them.
Cocytus needed to be wary of the stabbing attack from Frost Pain, but the threat of Shasuryu’s cleaving sword was greater. This must be the true intention of the enemy, but—
“If you want to perform a sneak attack— you have to do it silently.”
On top of not hiding the sound of splashing, he did not hide of attack. Was there even a point in purposely getting damaged by the cold. Cocytus wondered. Or was it just useless floundering.
However, it was truth that the enemy had entered his attack range.
Since he was pinching Frost Pain, Zaryusu was not an enemy. Deciding so, Cocytus swung his sword.
The greatsword and Shasuryu were cut into two.
And on the backswing, he aimed for Zaryusu—
When Cocytus was about to swing the Royal Blade God Slayer, he felt bored.
There were some among the strong that like to pick on the weak. Shalltear and Demiurge were two prime examples.
There were those who did not fight the weak.
And there were some that felt the weak were boring. Like Cocytus—
As Guardian of the 5th Floor, Cocytus was a warrior.
No, he was made as a warrior by the 41 Supreme Beings.
So to Cocytus, his joy was fighting. Yes, fighting. Her would never trample on it. He craved to be challenged, even if it was disadvantageous to him.
However, there was none. Of course, not much time had passed since he came to this world so it was too early to say there was none. However, seeing that the human called Brain stood at the peak, Cocytus felt nothing but disappointment.
His movements were dull, his sword arm was bad, his weapon was trash.
How would one feel enjoyable fighting him.
This time, when he attacked the lizardmen village, he was first filled with expectation. However, when he was about to swing his sword for the second time, there was nothing left but disappointment. They were too weak.
Those that could satisfy Cocytus, were the Guardians like him, Sebas or his master. And perhaps the existences on the 8th Floor.
While filled with those thoughts, Cocytus used his cold eyes to see where his blade was about to cut off Zaryusu’s neck.
Originally this battle should have ended.
Even if Zaryusu avoided Cocytus’ attack, he should not have been able to defend himself.
However, the battle had not ended—
—At this moment, Cocytus’ fingers pinching Zaryusu’s sword slipped.
The surprised Cocytus checked his fingers, wondering why the sword that he pinched was sliding forth.
In the misty fog, Cocytus could see that his fingers and the sword were covered in a red liquid.
In an instant, Cocytus understood why his fingers slipped.
Cocytus was confused. When he tried to recall when this happened, he saw Zaryusu’s face through the fog and understood.
The blood Zaryusu smeared on his face wasn’t war paint. It was used to smear his sword. ‘Icy Burst’ wasn’t meant to damage Cocytus or hide Shasuryu’s whereabouts, it was to hide the blood on the sword. That was the reason he had hidden the sword behind his back too.
When Cocytus stopped Zaryusu’s attack the first time, he used his fingers to pinch it. Zaryusu remembered that and bet on the slim chance it will happen again, setting up this scenario with all his wits.
—They of course had no intention of underestimating Cocytus.
However, if Cocytus had grasped the blade properly, this would not be possible. Even Cocytus could not completely hold Zaryusu’s full spirited attack back with two fingers.
If the place he pinched it was slightly further away, Cocytus might have been able to do something, but at this distance, there was nothing he could do.
Most importantly— this was not possible without Shasuryu.
Shasuryu probably didn’t know what Zaryusu’s plan was.
But the older brother trusted his younger brother completely and sacrificed himself. The meaningless sneak attack and roar was all in the hope of diverting an instant of attention away from his younger brother.
And it was really just an instant.
In that brief moment in time— as Zaryusu was squeezing Frost Pain forth with all his might— the lower jaw of Cocytus moved.
The sword slashing at Cocytus— was deflected easily. The body with a faint blue glow did not even have a scratch on it.
“— Sorry to say, I possess special ability to temporarily nullify the attack of low tier weapons. If I activate this ability, your attacks will be meaningless.”
Cocytus intentionally took half a step back, splashing the mud which soiled his beautiful blue body.
It was just a tiny step back.
A step back didn’t mean anything, even moving back won’t affect anything. Zaryusu was doomed and Cocytus would definitely prevail.
But this step back was the show of praise from the dominatingly strong Cocytus towards the weak Zaryusu.
Zaryusu resigned to his fate, and had a clear smile only those who had done their best could show. Cocytus slashed the Royal Blade God Slayer towards him—