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Chapter 287 – All-Heaven Festival Contest Final Stage “Demon King Castle Bloody Field” (9) / To Carry Out The Way Of Life I Learned From You

287 – All-Heaven Festival Contest Final Stage “Demon King Castle Bloody Field” (9) / To Carry Out The Way Of Life I Learned From You

Altreed’s fist comes at me.

「Dark.」

I covered my head using my Holy Sword, which was wrapped in “Ebony Flames”.

— It was necessary to have him attack me directly.

It would have been nice if he had completely used up his Magical Energy in the fight against the three Contractors of the Four Great Spirit, but he actually broke through it with his outstanding skill and quick thinking.

However, in the end, he did end up using up a lot of his Magical Energy.

Though Rogestilla’s “Rebapkenz” had teleported him right above us, it was Altreed himself who used the Heaven-Base Magic “Storm Ocean” to defeat the giant Ipos.

Soon after that, he used it once again while on the ground.

Many of my teammates were taken out because of his swift action, but I managed to survive thus far thanks to them.

Since I kept on attacking him with my Black Magic, he had no choice but to keep spending his Magical Energy into his own “Resist”.

And the large amount of Magical Energy covering his body as a result of him using “Resist” also warded off the “Great Saint” Panacea’s White Magic.

Now that he had lost his left hand to prevent my “Ebony Flames” from spreading into the rest of his body, as well as having lost his sword in the battle that took place in the fog, the “Unyielding Hero” only has his right fist left.

He didn’t have enough Magical Energy to use any spell that can rip my body into shreds.

Even I can block regular Wind Blades with my Holy Sword, and it’s impossible to hit me with magic from behind.

Before anyone says that something like that isn’t very “Hero-like”, the process of sending Magical Energy behind me and generating a Wind Blade from there is absolutely necessary, and there’s no time to do that anymore.

The next moment — Fenix would be here.

A few seconds after that, Aerial – who had been sent flying earlier – and Wraith – who was repelling Orion’s arrows – would come back to my side as well.

The only reason Altreed has had a chance to take me out so far was that those three were far away from me.

And right now, he has but an instant before that situation changes.

At this moment, he has but one weapon left.

We try to read each other out about where his right fist will try to hit me.

His fist looks awfully slow.

It’s difficult for me, a Black Sorcerer, to match the Hero’s earnest move with my eyes, so I can only assume that I’m only feeling like time is being stretched out due to extreme concentration.

His fist was first aimed at my heart.

But halfway through, his eyebrows twitch as if he noticed something.

And before I knew it, Altreed pierced right through my Magical Energy organ.

His bare fist has been driven through my abdomen.

「…」

It had been a good call.

Either a precise shot at the brain or the heart would be the best place to reliably take down any enemy.

But I was protecting my head.

A Holy Sword wrapped in “Ebony Flames”. It is difficult to break through that with nothing but a bare fist.

Is the heart the best alternative, then?

Actually, no.

Altreed should have instantly thought 『Why did Lem protect his head?』.

Why only the head? There’s no point in leaving his heart unprotected as a result.

We’re in the realm of determining who wins and who loses in a mere instant.

We have to make decisions as our thoughts are stretched to their utmost limits.

The Black Sorcerer Lem, who has come up so far in this contest, couldn’t just overlook something so elementary.

In other words, the reasoning behind this choice must have been something like 『Even if my heart is pierced, keeping my head safe will lead me to victory』.

If Lem is factoring his own defeat in, what can he do in the few seconds between his heart being pierced and him actually being taken out?

The answer is Black Magic.

To use magic, both clear thinking and Magical Energy are essential.

The safety of the brain and the ability to generate Magical Energy are indispensable.

Piercing through Lem’s heart would leave him exposed to the influence of his Black Magic.

With all that in consideration, the best choice would be to go for the Magic Energy organ instead.

To think that I was able to change the trajectory of his fist just before he was able to deliver the final blow, despite him managing to reach me in such a splendid way…

His experiences, the number of times he must have been at the verge of death, the many victories he has accumulated, and his indomitable strength were completely out of this world.

Sometimes I hear others say that once you finally meet that person you admire, you’ll be disappointed, because they always end up being different from your idealized picture of them.

Ah, but only this person can make my heart tremble even more than when I see him through a screen.

「That’s why we’ll win.」

Because I admired you, and wanted to become a Hero just like you.

Because I know you’re the strongest, coolest, and greatest Hero who never gives up.

I was sure that the moment when you overcome your enemies and seize victory for yourself would arrive.

That’s why there’s no reason not to prepare for what happens “beyond that”.

I set a trap ahead of him making the right choice.

I will hinder the enemy’s full power and lead my teammates to victory… because I am a Black Sorcerer.

「This is–」

I had prepared this on the premise that he would be punching through my Magic Energy organ.

Since it’s an organ that produces Magical Power, Altreed had no way of feeling that something was out of place…

I had used Black Magic inside my Magic Energy organ.

My Magical Energy was wriggling inside it.

This is natural, so Altreed pays no mind to it. Because he had no time to spare doubting such a thing.

Even so, making the drastic move of casting Black Magic onto oneself would normally make anyone feel uncomfortable to some degree.

But that’s not the case with me.

For me, it was something I’ve been doing on a daily basis as part of Master’s teachings.

Making my own Black Magic course through my body was nothing more than a daily routine.

I cast two Black Magic spells on Altreed.

The first one is “Blank”.

The power of the “Unyielding Hero” lies in his ability to think and get things done.

If I’m able to crush his ability to think, that will be the same as crushing the foundation of his power.

If being able to continue to think is the source of his strength, I’ll make him go blank in his thoughts… I’ll strip him of his ability to think.

I am now standing here as Black Sorcerer Lem.

So this is fine.

Fenix was approaching behind Altreed.

Even if my belly gets pierced through, there’s no way it’ll be over for me with just that. I have to take him down. Surely I’m preparing some sort of plan.

With that conviction, my childhood friend never slowed down as he raised his sword.

「It’s up to me now.」

There was nothing holding him back from slashing at Altreed.

Fenix did not hesitate.

「If this is what my friend wants…」

At that time — a lightning bolt.

It flashes from Altreed’s body.

He is now unable to think at all.

…So that’s what it means.

— Just before hitting my Magical Energy organ with his fist, he prepared a timed Lightning attribute magical attack.

If you set up a Magic Formula in advance and set it to be activated by flowing Magical Energy into it, the spell itself will still be unleashed even if the caster is unconscious.

It can’t be kept up for long, but it doesn’t matter if it lasts just for an instant, because the idea is to move at super high speed by cladding himself in Lightning Magic.

If he could buy himself a single moment, he would be able to dodge Fenix’s slash.

And if he can do that, he can then get away from us in the blink of an eye.

If he gets separated from us, my “Blank” will wear off, and Altreed will regain consciousness.

And then he’ll be able to keep on fighting.

The “Unyielding Hero” Altreed is a Hero who keeps on thinking.

He had even considered the possibility of him being put in a situation in which he is deprived of his ability to keep thinking.

I have never had my thoughts read like this before.

But he failed to see through one single thing.

Altreed had to keep thinking about his next move against the ever-changing situation of this battle.

It’s the same for me, but there’s one difference.

I had already foreseen this turn of events in advance.

The second spell I cast on Altreed…

…Is “Speed Down”.

Altreed’s body is unusually fast compared to ordinary people, but the Hero’s movements have started to dull away.

Even so, he might be able to escape from this situation, even after being slowed down.

But it’s okay. If it could only delay his initial movement…

「You are the best Hero, but…」

Due to Wraith’s “Freeze”, his right arm and my abdomen were frozen together, further delaying him from removing his arm.

「We have the best Black Sorcerer with us.」

What Aerial had activated was “Air Box”, which I had seen during the raid battle. With this, Altreed has no room to escape.

「We win.」

Fenix’s blade comes down.

Burning and slashing through the “Air Box”, the blade cuts through Altreed’s body as well as my own.

— I wanted to become a “Hero”

I never did.

However, I didn’t want to give up on being a Hero.

–『I’ll ask you again. Why do you want to be a hero?』

Master once asked me that question.

–『Because Heroes are cool.』

A simple answer.

It wasn’t that I longed for the “Hero” Job itself.

I longed for the way of life and the kinds of battles those with that Job have.

But no one can be saved from their fate by lamenting forever that they weren’t blessed with what they wanted.

Living with that may be a very painful and sad thing.

The only thing one can do is look at it from another angle, taking it head on and focusing on the things that you can do.

There is no way to stick to the way of life that you desire.

You taught me that with the videos you shared with the world.

How many people look at you, admire you, support you, and hope to be just like you?

You are a great warrior.

Ah, that’s exactly why.

I wonder how amazing your predecessor was.

Our hearts haven’t yielded.

Because that’s what it means to carry out the way of life I learned from you…!

Even if I can’t fight like a Hero here and now…

…I will do my part.

–『Even if you study Black Magic, you won’t be able to defeat your enemies without exposing yourself to them when you use it.』

–『”Because I’m here, the party can fight to their best.” That’s the kind of Black Sorcerer I’ll become.』

「This is the way I fight.」

Right before I left the stage, I felt as if Altreed was looking at me with a smile on his face.

I have never considered myself unhappy.

The days I spent as an adventurer had many painful things, but they were fulfilling.

I was glad that there were people who would give me the name “The Unyielding Hero” and recognized my fighting style.

Definitely the best adventuring days I could’ve asked for.

I may not have been chosen by the Spirits.

I may not have been blessed with the times.

With the passage of time and the rise of attractive young people, the world has forgotten about us.

But that’s okay.

I love this world.

Great colleagues, rivals, friends, fans who cheered me on, my beloved wife, and my one son.

A life full of things to be proud of.

The words of heartless people will not put a single dent in my life or my friends’ lives. My way of life isn’t that soft.

However, if there is one regret I have…

It’s my son’s tears.

–『I will become a Hero. And when I do, I’ll stare back at those who dared make a fool of you, dad.』

I made him say that. I made him feel very, very frustrated.

No matter who tries to say otherwise, the miraculous days I spent will never fade, and no one can taint them.

However, whether the people around me feel that way is another story.

In fact, my son was deeply hurt.

I had saddened him, my only son, who believes that his father is the strongest.

I wish I could have tried another year.

But I can’t turn back the hands of the clock.

I didn’t get another to prove that I’m the strongest.

That’s what I thought.

I don’t care what your purpose for doing this is, Fellow. But you have my gratitude.

Watch me, Wraith. It doesn’t matter if we have to face each other as enemies.

The Hero always wins in the end.

— Yes, that’s what I wanted to prove.

But even then, in the end, my Avatar was destroyed, and I was taken out of the contest.

My mind returns to my real body, which was inside the “cocoon” device that was installed in the waiting room.

The “cocoon” opened, but I couldn’t get up right away.

I instead covered my eyes with both hands, then scratched the back of my head.

「Oh, did I lose?」

Fifty years of life, and yet the taste of defeat… How bitter.

It’s the same frustration that makes you want to scream when you lose when you’re a kid even after having tried your best at a game.

It certainly can get worse than that, but that fact doesn’t make it feel any better.

Countless reflections and thoughts of improvement. My head immediately thinks of “next time”.

「I’m sorry, Wraith. In the end, I forgot about you.」

I wanted to have more Magic bouts with my son, and I was thinking about things like taking the power of my son’s companions head-on.

But when the time to actually fight them arrived, my plans were blown away.

All of a sudden, I was simply playing to win.

Running out there in the field was just too much fun, just like when I was a kid.

Well, I did try to unleash some flashy spells, though.

I hope that this will change the way people see the world, even if just a little… and clear away the frustration my son’s been carrying since he was younger, even a little…

However, in the chaos of emotions that swirled within my heart, there’s one feeling that stands out brilliantly over all others.

My final expression was a smile.

Because this, too, was just like child’s play.

「It was fun. Really, really fun. No matter how old I get, adventuring is amazing.」

After saying that much, I became flustered and finally stood up.

「This won’t do. I’m curious as to how this is going to end.」

My own teammates are still fighting.

I left the stage as the Black Sorcerer Lem.

As soon as I got out of the “cocoon”, I approached the side of the device and removed the registration card for adventurers that had been slotted in there.

Though the thing itself was destroyed and must be rebuilt, the data for the Adventurer’s Avatar has been recorded here.

And I don’t have just one registration card.

After taking out my second one, which was hanging from my neck, I inserted it into the device.

This one is equipped by the Demon King.

I have fulfilled my role as a Black Sorcerer.

I have no regrets about the result of that.

But at the same time, it is also true that there is another form that I desire.

And the opportunity to do so has not passed yet.

「Not yet. It’s not over yet…」

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Comment (1)

  1. Emmanuel Parfait

    i thought he was gonna show his horn as Lem but i like where this is going!

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