Chapter 38 – part 10

「Hey, Koharu-chan? I heard a bit about your circumstances. There’s something I want to ask you.」

「What… is it?」

Cordelia asked with a gentle smile.

「Are you scared of fighting?」

「You wouldn’t understand, Cordelia-san. The feelings of someone who had everyone they loved killed… someone with the courage of a born hero… You could never understand.」

Cordelia shrugged her shoulders.

「I get scared too, you know?」

Then she pointed at her own legs and gestured for Koharu to look.

Upon closer inspection, there were the trembling knees of the girl known as the hero, trembling so subtly that one wouldn’t notice without looking closely.


「It’s terrifying, you know? Dying is scary, experiencing pain is scary, and if things go wrong, I could end up as an enemy’s plaything. It’s scary… and I hate it.」


「But I have this power now. I can do things that ordinary people can’t. No, I find myself doing them. So if someone has to do it, then I have to.」

They fell into silence for a moment, and Koharu lowered her eyes.

「…Why don’t you just run away?」

「I thought about that too. And in the past… Lute told me.」

「Told you what?」

「If you don’t want to, you don’t have to do it. You can even run far away, somewhere no one knows.」

「Why didn’t you go then?」

Cordelia looked into the distance and spoke with a distant look in her eyes.

「I have someone I love. At first, I just wanted to protect that person, who was just an ordinary villager. I wanted to protect the people I love, including that person. So I decided to take up the sword.」

Then Cordelia laughed mischievously.

「Well, as it turns out, that villager was way stronger than me.」

「The person you love, Cordelia-san… is that, by any chance?」

「Well, you see… the people I love, the people I want to protect, everyone in that village, and the country that makes up that village, and the entire world—I decided to protect them all.」

With that, Cordelia clapped her hands as if to conclude the conversation.

「Protecting the people I love. That’s my belief.」

「Belief, you say…」

「If you don’t want to fight, you don’t have to. Lute told me the same thing a long time ago. And Koharu-chan? You can rest assured because you’re one of the people I want to protect even if I die.」

With just those words, Cordelia began following Lilith without entering her berserker mode.

Cordelia’s back was trembling faintly.

But her heart, as she courageously faced the ogre, was unbroken.
However, Cordelia’s knees were trembling, and despite her determination, it was evident to anyone that her physical limits were near.

「Seriously… each and every one of them, each and every one of them, each and every one of them… calling people trash or garbage, and then, on top of that… even in their half-hearted state… declaring to protect me… it’s not like I asked for it…」

With that, something inside Koharu snapped.

「Them… calling the Eastern shrine maiden… born and raised in an elite family, and being called a shrine maiden… they’ve really gone too far with me…」

With a half-smile, Koharu slapped her own cheeks energetically with both palms.
And to motivate herself, she scolded herself.

「Hey, Saegusa Koharu? Are you going to stay silent after being insulted by these underlings? That’s not like you, right? You’re the head of the Saegusa clan… the head of an esteemed bloodline with the power of the Exorcist God… the Eastern shrine maiden!」

As she did so, Koharu’s hair started standing on end.
It was like an exaggerated version of static electricity, with her long black hair seemingly fixed in mid-air as if held in place by wax and spray.

In the next moment, bluish-purple lightning began to run within a radius of five meters around her.
Up until now, she had been called weak and clumsy, her family name had been tarnished, and her frustration had been building.

And being treated as a weakling by Lilith, being called garbage without reservation, and even Cordelia going as far as to say she was nothing more than a complete burden, below even the other targets to protect, had pushed her to the edge.

For someone born into a prestigious family of battle shrine maidens, this was the ultimate humiliation.
The cause of Saegusa Koharu’s current awakening was not an understanding of justice.
Certainly not a sense of duty to protect her classmates because they were in danger or anything of the sort.

It was pure anger.

Right now, enough anger was welling up inside her to dispel the traumas of her past, and Koharu had awakened.

Zap, zap.

Electric currents crackled through the air.
And Koharu screamed right then and there.

「The God of War has descended―――Takemikazuchi no kami―――!」

Lilith and Cordelia immediately turned around in surprise.

「Hey, you there, gloomy one!」

Koharu then confidently strode up to Lilith and grabbed her by the collar.

「Gloomy one? You mean me?」

To Lilith, who looked surprised, Koharu went on the attack, almost biting.

「Didn’t you say it just now? What did you call me? Hey, you! Said I had no motivation? That I’m useless? That I’m garbage? Hey, you! Are you disrespecting me?」

「Are you… really Koharu?」

Koharu brushed off the reasonable question with disdain.

「You’re so noisy! Look at me, I’m clearly a super cute loli with big boobs… Saegusa Koharu, right? Or am I wrong? Hey, you there? I’ll challenge you to a one-on-one later, alright? Hey, you! Gloomy bitch! Hey! Are you even listening?]

「…Gloomy bitch…」

In the face of such a situation, Lilith seemed to be at a loss for words, in a state of shock.

「Lilith? What in the world…?」

With Cordelia’s words, Lilith snapped out of it and immediately spoke up.

「…It might be a side effect of channeling a god… she might be in a trance state. Or perhaps the personality of the god she channeled has altered Koharu’s psyche…」

「Like a split personality?」

With a nod from Koharu, Lilith continued.

「At this moment, it seems like enough anger has welled up inside her to dispel the traumas of her past, and Koharu has awakened.」

Zap, zap, electric currents crackled through the air.
Then Koharu turned her attention toward Cordelia.

「By the way, you there, muscle-brained gorilla!」

「Muscle-brained gorilla…? Are you talking about me?」

Koharu approached Cordelia and grabbed her by the collar.

「It’s pretty obvious you’re the one, isn’t it? Are you even using your head? And what about you? Acting all high and mighty, lecturing people? Don’t get cocky just because you’re a hero! You’ll get your challenge later too, so be prepared, you brute!」


Cordelia, with a bewildered expression, but Koharu didn’t stop.
Next, Koharu’s wrath was finally directed at her actual enemies.

With a thumbs-down gesture, Koharu shouted.

「Now, you damn ogres! The one who’s gonna butcher you all right now is the Thunder God… the Eastern Shrine Maiden, Saegusa Koharu! I’m gonna send electric shocks surging through you with all I’ve got—twitch and dance, you scum!」

Koharu clenched her right fist and lightly tapped her temple with a “ping”.

And at the same time, she stuck out her tongue and said this.

「Divine Realm Blitz!」

A sudden burst of speed.
At a pace that rivaled Cordelia’s berserker mode, Koharu sprinted toward the ogre horde.

The mechanism of this spell involved sending electrical signals through her own spinal cord, bringing out reflex speeds that were impossible under normal circumstances, and tapping into muscle strength beyond the human body’s limits.

She then leaped upward.
Like a baseball pitcher, she raised her arm high in the air.

Around her right palm, multiple streaks of purple lightning crackled, forming a massive sphere.

「I’m gonna slam a straight fastball right down the middle! Roar—Thunder God’s Performance!」

With that, the lightning ball released from her palm shot towards the center of the ogre horde with tremendous force.
With each moment it advanced toward the ogres, the radius of the ball increased.

By the time it reached its impact point, it had become a barrier of electrical currents extending well beyond a radius of 100 meters.

First, a sense of awe swept through.
Everything around was enveloped in shades of blue and white.


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