Last Embryo Volume 4 Prologue Part 2
「The Sea Beast Rokuran, huh? I have to admit, it was a formidable opponent, just like the rumors about it were saying. I also have to say that I definitely would not have prevailed against it and its minions if not for the many techniques that you have imparted onto me, master. But now that I have destroyed its nest, it seems less than likely that it will get the chance to breed and increase its ranks anytime soon.」
I slowly stood up, using my beloved Serpens Scorpius as a cane. It is a good thing that most of the fatigue that was weighting down on me was focused around my legs. If my entire body was as heavy and groggy as they were, I would have probably not even be able to lift a single finger right now.
The Sea Beast Rokuran, the enemy whom I was tasked to fight, was a giant crab-like beast the likes of which I have never encountered before, so naturally at the beginning I had no idea how I should tackle this challenge. My situation has been made to be even more difficult by the fact that for the duration of this trial, I was forbidden from using any of my destructive Gifts besides Serpens Scorpius, my beloved sword-whip, so I had no choice but to employ the typical strategy meant to be used against the Giant-Type enemies: trying to go for its legs all the while avoiding the attacks of both it and its minions while remaining swift on my own feet. Although I was able to deal with them one by one by constantly aiming for even the tiniest gaps and cracks in its shell, bringing it down still took me three nights and three days of constantly using my my entire body without even a minute to catch my breath and rest.
Looking back on it now when it was all over, I can definitely say that it was a victory achieved thanks to a miracle. If I did not employ every last technique that my mentor, Queen Halloween’s Head Butler Scathach has taught me, then the victory would have definitely slipped right through my fingers, and I myself would definitely have perished.
However, as I was voicing these thoughts of mine out loud, Scathach-sensei only shook her head in denial with a simple 「That is not true at all.」.
「It is fine to be humble when talking about your own achievements, but purposefully underestimating and belittling yourself are the things that I will absolutely not tolerate. Listen now, and listen well: none of the skills that I have taught you would prove useful in a battle against the Sea Beast, or any type of aquatic monsters for that matter. . .」
「That is not true, master. I am sure that I have only won because. . .」
「. . . Because I have never taught you any of the secret skills required to easily defeat these types of opponents. So the victory you managed to achieve was yours and yours alone, and it was a pretty good one at that.」
「Huh. . . ?」
「M-Master. . . what did you say just now? Because I could have sworn that just now, you said. . .」
「Oh, for crying out loud! I said that I have never taught you any of the secret skills required to easily wipe the floor with those kinds of opponents. If I did that, you would have gained an effortless victory that would not serve any kind of purpose, because it would not have taught you anything. And yet despite that, not only were you not killed by the Sea Beast and its cohorts, but you managed to emerge victorious from such a vicious battle with only your own strength and ability. That way, even though you are bruised and tattered both physically and mentally, your victory has much more value to it, because you managed to seize it with your own help without relying on others. I guess I should be saying something along the lines of 『As expected of my pupil!』 but to tell you the truth, I am just as surprised as you are, if not even more!!! However, you are right in saying that without the moves I taught you, you would have lost. Moreover, if you faced this Sea Beast as you were before I started training you again, you would not even lasted a single day.」
Scathach-sensei nodded with satisfaction, only to swiftly move from praising me for my victory to chastising me for my lack of training, like it was no big deal to her. Overcome with murderous intentions, I gripped the handle of my beloved sword tightly, but in the end I did not launch any attack towards her whatsoever. It would have been a different story if I was at my full strength, but the way I am not, wounded and exhausted after three days and nights of a non-stop battle to the death, I would have no chances of winning against her, so I had to use every last bit of my self-control to keep my raging emotions in check. Because deep down in my heart, I knew that she was right, and that she was not criticizing me for malicious reasons.
Just bite down on your lip and endure until your head cools down, Kudou Ayato.
Walking away from the tree and approaching the carcass of the dead Sea Beast Rokuran, Scathach-sensei spoke again after a brief pause.
「Well, it’s understandable for you to feel frustrated, but do not be too angry at yourself. You will need the horns and bones of this guy if you want to have your own secret technique and new armor to be made for you, so one way or the other, you would have had to fight the Sea Beast Rokudan sooner or later.」
「That may be true, but if that was really the case, the don’t you think that the order, or I guess I should say, priorities of how I went about it have been all messed up? If my goal from the very beginning was not to defeat this beast but rather to obtain its horns and bones, then why did you not tell me to do just that and be done with it?! What was the purpose of having me battle it to the death if there was literally no reason for me to do that whatsoever?!」
「Eh? Why would you only want to do something so boring? That would not be any fun at all.」
Okay, that’s it! I am officially taking back everything I said about her being nice and caring! This woman is the essence of pure evil personified, and I am so going to kill her for it! It might not be today, tomorrow or anytime soon in the near future, but I swear that this evil vixen is going to be brought to justice with my own hands!
Once again not paying any heed to my internal turmoil, Scathach-sensei rolled up the sleeves of her butler uniform and said to me:
「Alright then, if we are to collect the materials we would need from this beastie, then no time like the present to do so! What do you want to make out of it: a spear, a sword, or perhaps a bow? Whichever one of them you will end up choosing, I would strongly advise you to make your choice as soon as possible, preferably right now, because if we wait too long with extraction then things will get pretty dangerous and you will have to fight this guy all over again!」
「Wait wait wait! What do you mean, dangerous?! What do you mean, fight it all over again?! I thought I told you that I killed the Sea Beast Rokuran and all of its minions and destroyed its nest, so both the beast and its kin should be effectively extinct!」
「Extinct? What are you talking about. . . oh, oooh, I see, so you thought it was going to be like that, huh? Well, I hate to break it to you but killing this guy once or twice is going to do no good. You see, this guy right here is one of the Fomorian, a subclass of the Giant Clan from Celtic mythology that can be best described as malevolent spirits inhabiting the depths of the sea that were granted the Giant’s power, and since they are related to Giants it means that they are also incredibly difficult to permanently kill. In the case of this Rokuran right here, its corpse is simply going to melt into the earth and find its way back into the sea, where it is going to wait until its body regenerates before it will get out onto the shores once more. Or at least that is how the story goes!」
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