Translator: Denryuu; Editor: Ryunakama
Lying on the sofa alone with his legs sticking out from the side, never in a million years would he have expected that all his allies were dead on the second floor. The mage’s aura I had detected before my intrusion appeared to belong to this guy.
「Ayo, is that a customer I see?」, he said languidly when he noticed me.
「I expected a warmer welcome.」
「You look like someone who’s just bumped off all my comrades.」
「Are you affiliated with Welger & Co.?」
「So what if I am?」
Still relaxing on the sofa, his laissez-faire manner almost made one think that there was no intruder in the same room.
「You don’t look like someone who’ll spill the beans easily. I don’t like to get violent, but it seems like I have no choice.」
He didn’t seem like he was egging me on, and neither did I feel any trap waiting for me. Approaching the man, I delivered a backhand strike with my dagger.
But before it reached him, a mysterious force blocked my blade. A rainbow-coloured ripple spread out from the point of contact and disappeared.
「Get it now? You can’t touch me.」
「I refer to it as ‘Absolute Defence’.」
He wasn’t looking at me at all, let alone watching my movements.
「Is the defence mechanism automatic?」
「Pretty much. Not bad for your first time seeing it. As a shout-out to how observant you are, I’ll introduce myself.」
Finally standing up, I saw that he was both young and well-built, worlds apart from that bunch from earlier.
「Victor Orgins. Have you heard of the man named ‘Iron Wall Victor’? That’s me.」
He spread his hands like he was performing on a stage.
「I’ve never heard a name like that before.」
His aura flickered for a split second.
「Physical or magical… my barrier is impervious to both. It’s such a great skill.」
If he isn’t lying, then it really is a great skill. I know of a few defensive skills that can be activated at will, and the methods to deal with them accordingly. This, however, outclassed them entirely.
「And that’s why you can afford to be so relaxed?」
「Precisely. Regardless of who you are or what you do, nothing can pierce this barrier. Not even that Demon King, probably.」
If nothing can pierce his barrier…
「You carry yourself like a virgin.」
…then nothing can touch him at all.
His expression hardened in an instant.
「Oh, was I spot on?」
「No, no. What you said simply took me by surprise.」
「I didn’t come here to hear excuses. You seem lonely enough that the only company you have is your hand.」
「I already said that it’s not the case!」
I detected considerable narcissism from the way he spoke. With a skill like that, though… anyone would have become as prideful as he is.
「Well then, virgin-kun. To be tasked with the kidnapping of a young girl… you must be crying on the inside.」
「Yes, that’s my job. If only those blithering idiots were competent in the least…!」
Drawing his sword, Victor attacked immediately. I parried it and tried stabbing him again, but as I was expecting by now, my strike was once again blocked by the rainbow-coloured matrix.
「How many times do I have to say it? I am impervious to all forms of attack!」
「I have a rough idea now.」
「An idea… what idea –!?」
He made a big display of swinging his sword around.
「You’ll see. I’m just hoping that you aren’t actually a virgin.」
「Such a cheap shot. Since you can’t do anything, you’ll just get cut down… like this! Errg… like this! Shit, I can’t reach you…!」
「You have good form, but there’s no way you can lay a single finger on me.」
「Fufufu, now that’s interesting! Between your defence — which you might as well give up on now — and my ‘Absolute Defence’… which one is stronger?」
Cleansing myself of thoughts, I calmly approached him and thrust my dagger in his direction.
I stopped the blade just before it sunk into the space between his eyes and his nose.
「Huh…!? So close…!?」 , he wailed in shock, stumbling backwards.
「Look at you cowering. So this is the limit of your ‘Absolute Defence’.」
「Go on, as if you know anything!」
「Thanks to that strike, I am now aware that you are in fact not a virgin.」
「You’re still bringing that irrelevant thing up…?」
「It seems irrelevant, doesn’t it?」
Ridding myself of all thought again, I carried myself like a summer breeze, sidestepping Victor’s attack and grabbing his throat with my hand.
I lifted him by the neck. Making a pained expression, he rapped on my hands repeatedly with his legs flailing in the air.
「‘How?’ is what your expression says. You couldn’t possibly have believed that your skills leaves no openings, did you?」
His face began to turn purple as his eyes grew wider.
「It’s not possible that nobody can touch you. Because you’re not a virgin. Your barrier only activates in response to malicious intent. If not, ‘Absolute Defence’ would get in the way of your sex life, wouldn’t it?」
I had no intention of throttling him for real, so he could still speak with relative ease.
「Y-Yeah, you got it. I’ll talk… I’ll tell you… everything I know…」
Like a strawberry in a greenhouse, he probably wasn’t used to being attacked at all.
I flung him onto the sofa. He sputtered and coughed a few times, took many large gulps of air and finally calmed down.
「You’re the first to attack me successfully… gotta hand it to you for that…」
「I simply cleansed myself of the intent to harm you. That’s all.」
「But doesn’t that put yourself in danger? Doing that in a fight…」
「I was once a full-time assassin.」
「Who do you think an assassin’s first target is?」
「His parents…? Or his friends, maybe?」
「You’ve read too many fairy tales」, I said, smiling bitterly. 「The answer is himself. An assassin has to kill himself first. If he can do that, then he doesn’t need to suppress his emotions, because he will have none. Think of a windless lake — are there any ripples?」
「Total apathy… you mean?」
「Something like that, I believe.」
I see, said Victor, looking at me with nothing but respect.
With his skill overcome, he had lost the will to fight entirely. After all, I don’t think he had ever expected my attacks to work on him.
「Save the details for later, and hand the hostage over first.」
Rummaging in his pocket for the key, he found it and brought me to the end of the corridor. Finding no use for the fake Meiri anymore, I made the ‘Shadow’ disappear. Victor removed the giant padlock and entered the room.
All he saw was a rabbit scurrying about, twitching its whiskers.
「Eh…? She’s gone…? Where did she go…!? She was just here a while ago –」
「What’s wrong? This is what I came for」, I said, lifting the tsunorabi from the ground.