Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
The Last Piece
Hikaru ran around the top of the wall with his Stealth on, kicking down monsters trying to climb up. With the Assassination buff, a powerful kick was enough to kill them.
All soldiers had already left. Only Hikaru was left. Rapid-firing Flame Gospel had done wonders in pushing the monsters back, but the Yamamaneki were beginning to rise back up, giving them momentum once more.
Hikaru fired the last two shots filled with fire magic to the right and left, turned back, and jumped, his Gravity Balancer breaking the fall. He felt his very core tremble, an indication that his Soul Rank had gone up. Although he hadn’t checked it yet, he was sure it went up a few levels.
The soldiers had retreated further than halfway across the prairie. It was a good time to withdraw.
The Yamamaneki got on its feet and howled, causing Hikaru to fall flat.
The Yamamaneki’s shout seemed to be effective against both humans and monsters. Creatures caught in the range of the roar let out screams from the other side of the wall.
As Hikaru glanced back at the Yamamaneki, shells from blast cannons landed direct hits on it. With the core destroyed, the huge mass of earth collapsed. Hikaru told Lavia that once he shot the last remaining bullets, they could use whatever weapons they had. Their timing was, in fact, perfect.
Hikaru caught a glimpse of the dragon that crashed to the side of the wall, the wounds on its wings preventing it from flying. Someone’s feet dangled out of its mouth.
「It ate Gorja, huh?」
Hikaru thought they communicated through telepathy, or perhaps Gorja simply spoke to it, but that did not seem to be the case.
「It must be some kind of sorcery… Not really interested, though.」he said as he turned his back to the dragon and started running.
Only the blast cannon squad were left on the line of defense. Hikaru could see the backs of those who already retreated in the distance.
『Silver Face! Over here!』Doriachi called, raising his hand.
「What the… the king is still here? What on earth is he thinking…」
「He said he wouldn’t leave until you came back.」Lavia said with exasperation in her voice.
Paula and her bodyguards came in droves as well.
「I see. Can you run?」
「Yup. I’m good.」Lavia said.
「Me too.」Paula added.
「It feels like it’s been ages since the three of us were together.」
They were only separated for a few days, but it felt like a month.
「Silver Face! We should retreat quick or His Majesty won’t leave!」Duinkler said, his face pale.
「Sure looks like it.」
Gotta applaud the guy’s loyalty. He stayed until the very last minute, Hikaru thought. Thinking back, every move this plump man did, he did for the king.
「Everyone from Vireocean seems to be present. We’ll go as well.」
The priest’s escorts, led by Luke Landon, were in full force too.
「You guys are still here? You should’ve left immediately.」
「We’re knights. We can’t do that.」
Hikaru couldn’t understand the logic behind that answer. Nonetheless, he was glad they were safe. It could affect future negotiations if they were missing members.
「All that’s left is… the blast cannons.」
「Ludend will handle those.」Duinkler said.「We can leave them to him. Let’s go!」
Duinkler seemed to treat Ludend roughly. The blast cannons spewed fire, shooting shells that toppled another Yamamaneki down. Their hits were quite accurate. If not for their revolt, they’d be a useful unit.
「They should retreat once they run out of ammo too. You can make weapons over and over, but you can never replace a life lost.」
「Silver Face! Hurry up!」Duinkler stomped his foot in frustration.
Hikaru, however, couldn’t just abandon them.「Hey, Ludend.」
『Hmm? What do you want?』
Ludend’s attitude towards Silver Face was tough. Perhaps because he knew now that Hikaru played them like a fiddle and ruined their plans.
「Uh… Star Face, please translate for me.」Hikaru said.
「I can do it.」
A small figure came scuttling towards them, carrying a massive binder in their hands. The weight almost seemed to cause her to fall forward.
『Deena?! Where have you been?! We have a crisis in our hands!』
『I-I’m sorry, Lord Duinkler. After the bell woke me up, I went to get these confidential papers.』
『Records of our country’s history, huh? I see. Very well, but we have to leave now. I trust you’re ready. I suppose there’s not time to even get ready.』
『Y-Yes, Sir!』Deena nodded, nervousness on her face, and turned to Hikaru.「Sorry to keep you waiting.」
「Ah, I see.」Hikaru smiled.「You decided to show up now. Quite smart.」
「Excuse me? I’m not sure I follow.」
「You can play dumb all you want.」
Deena shrieked as Hikaru knocked the binder away and grabbed her collar.
「S-Silver Face?! What are you doing?!」Duinkler exclaimed.「I know you don’t like Deena, but this is no time for disputes.」
「Oh, trust me. This is the time. You guys just don’t sense this thing.」
『She’s emitting nauseating evil mana.』Lavia said in their language.
Evil mana was leaking out from the small accessory around her belt. The mana that came from Deena was so intense that even without Mana Detection like Hikaru, spellcasters like Lavia and Paula could feel it.
Deena yelped as Hikaru cut the belt with a knife and removed the accessory case. He then pushed her away and threw the case towards the wall.
「I got it. O’ Spirit, heed my call. With the primordial flame, burn my target to ashes.」
Lavia released a huge ball of fire. It was nothing but a basic fire spell, Flame Breath. She’d actually gotten better at controlling fire magic, reducing the size of the ball. A roaring pillar of flame rose as the fireball landed on where the case was.
After a small explosion, darkness burst out. Sand and stone fell to the ground. The grass on the whole area had withered.
『Wh-What was that?!』Ludend asked Hikaru, shocked.
「Some kind of a magic item loaded with evil mana. I had no idea how the enemy lured monsters to the city. Turns out it was this easy. Who knew?」
Deena, who had fallen on her backside, glared at Hikaru with a bitter expression.
「You’re Koukimaru’s spy.」Hikaru said.
He knew that Deena was on the enemy’s side, but he did noy have definitive proof. He also had no idea how she could make contact from someone outside the city. It was clear that she was using some kind of magic item that Hikaru knew nothing about. However, he didn’t have much time to investigate.
So he decided to leave her alone and let the monster invasion happen. In order to minimize the scale of the upcoming raid, destroying Roots—the source of the monsters’ power—was the quickest way he could think of.
「How… did you know?」Deena asked in a stifled voice.
She had misjudged Hikaru and his party’s abilities. She didn’t know he could destroy Roots, and that they had information on Ludend. After learning that Hikaru was going around destroying Roots one after another, Deena panicked. As a result, she summoned the monsters right as the revolt was happening.
「I have a special ability, you see.」Hikaru answered.
There was a clear indication on her Soul Board that suggested she was an enemy.
Age: 21 Rank: 17