Chapter 36 Part 1 – The dog with Blood Redemption. A cunning monster, a prideful man, and a merciless battlefield

 


Ranzan


The demon dog Gallam looked ruptured with wounds from the relentless waves of Royal Guard attacks.

His listless gait resembled a sinking schooner.

Matzo clenched his fist and was about to run in to deliver the final blow.

My mother noticed a noise, however,

「An arrow? Where?!」

She looked around quizzically.

Bradd looked a bit sick with nausea and chills, and looked up too,

「It flew here from over there?! How far was it shot?」

The sound of a dull THUD.

Arrow striking flesh. I had heard it many times on the battlefield.

The arrows had fallen into the gaps between the spears and before it hit made a loud whistle.

The body of the dog cramped suddenly.

「…what the?!?」

My mother was shocked and gasped.

The archer group of the Royal Guard did so as well.

The arrow had lodged itself deep in the dog’s neck.

All of the most elite archers of Hydrangea were gathered here, and even so, Gallam’s hide had prevented them from damaging the dog almost completely.

This arrow had pierced the body of the dog, the dog that could blow away arrows even at close distance, and it had come from an unknown place.

They all knew how deadly true and strange the shot was…and that wasn’t the only surprise.

Gallam had lost almost all of his will to fight, but now his remaining fur stood up straight.

His near-corpse breathed in new, evil life.

You could see the inside of his body swell with hardened, renewed muscles.

It was like a nightmare.

I felt a tingle in my spine as I saw his eyes light up again.

And then…those emerald eyes glowed crimson.

I could feel a murderous force emanate from his body.

Wait…is that a bloody mist?!

The same as Bradd?!

「Wait…why does he have the Blood Redemption?!」

Bradd moans in shock.

「No! Everyone, on guard! Retreat a pace!」

A goosebumped Captain Matzo’s face changed and he screamed to his men, but it was too late.

Now it seemed there was a tornado raging among the Royal Guard.

Spears instantly broken, mighty knights knocked down from their horses.

Now the dense formations that they attacked the dog with had become a danger.

They collided with one another, and the Royal Guard suddenly collapsed.

「There’s no way…the Royal Guard, in an instant! Argh! No fear! Learn from harsh battle! If we collapse, then our three valiant warriors that fought this dog alone will laugh at us!」

He pushed away his momentary astonishment and pleaded with his men.

And the Royal Guard changed to get back in the fight brilliantly.

If their opponent was human, the knights would have been well prepared to fight back, but the speed of Gallam was not comparable to humans.

He knocked the knights down by running them over, attempting to finish of by either jumping on them or kicking them with his hind legs.

The red-eyed beast was a true monster…lightness and speed reminiscent of the legendary wolf, Ralph.

But ever so much larger.

The dog jumped so high that it disappeared in the trees above the troops. Branches were crushed and leaves scattered. Then, after a heart-chilling silence, the tree beside us burst, and Gallam appeared.

The demon dog swooped down vertically, spewing his red mist of blood.

「Tch!」

Mother set her bow while Matzo clenched his iron fist.

And Bradd…

Wait, WHERE’S BRADD?!

「…I’m overhead! I can climb these trees easily, and even without the Blood Redemption, I can fight really well!」

Bradd was higher up then even the high-flying Gallam.

He stuck his hand down his skirt as he fell downwards.

When did this kid get up there so quickly?!

And his skirt is flying up in the breeze and I can see his crotch…how vulgar.

「If you want to eat that munchkin so badly, try this as an appetizer first! It’s got plenty of spice!」

A cloth bag flew from Bradd’s hand, and white smoke exploded in the dog’s face who tried to bite Bradd by twisting in the air. It was the same blinding and breath-stifling bag of quicklime, packed with stimulants.

Like the two dogs that he hit earlier, Gallam shook his face and whimpered over the substance that was now burning his nose, mouth, and eyes.

「Dirty dog! Don’t look down yet, because what’s on your neck will be pulling you up!」

Bradd’s purpose for using the bag wasn’t to blind the dog, but to cause a distraction for his true goal.

There was now a ring of rope around Gallam’s neck.

No matter how strong you are, that powder in your eyes will blind you…and with that second of chance, Bradd put a rope around Gallam’s neck with his own hand. Quick as an acrobat.

Leaves fell like confetti around us.

I realized that the rope the knights used to drag the two dogs had been repurposed. More amazing thinking.

Though the Blood Redemption made me forget what Bradd had done the previous 108 lives, his true skill was the ability to survive regardless of the seemingly impending death.

「You didn’t see it? I got you a new doggy collar!」

And it was the rope that fell behind Bradd just in time to make it invisible to the dog. Bradd had used his skirt to hide it from Gallam…more like magic than skill.

Gallam was about to fall down upon us, but he suddenly stopped in the air.

「I made the rope just long enough to stop a dirty dog like you from doing evil!」

The rope hung from a thick branch overhead down to Gallam’s neck. It tightened with a snap, and Gallam was hanged on the end of it.

The heavy weight of the dog must have been awesome, but the branch took it.

His limbs kicked in the air with tremendous force, but he could do nothing. The rope, lassoed around the demon dog Gallam, dug into his neck.

The Royal Guard all cheered the work,

「Yeaaaaaah! Great job!」

Bradd landed deftly and stepped back to us.

「Excellent job. More than I’d ever expect. You’re some kid!」

Captain Matzo praised him openly, but Bradd shook his head with a smile,

「No need for me to act cool…since I can’t use the Blood Redemption, I have to rely on tricks. If you fight that dog directly, you’re dead. And in addition to that, I borrowed a bottle of that liquor you brought. It has something that will attack that dog’s weakness.」

At the base of the trunk, there was a small jar that Bradd pointed at with his thumb.

That’s the liquor that mom was drinking.

When did all this happen?

「This rope’s not going to stop him, he’s going to escape. So let me take the shot now!」

Bradd’s eyes glowed crimson again, and that bloody mist wrapped around his body once more.

N…not again?!

「…don’t look so worried. I got some rest and recovered a bit.」

He smiled because he knew I was worried.

Even with that short rest, there’s no way he got all that blood back.

But, if someone’s going to protect me, Bradd will push to his limit to do it.

I knew already…he’s just that kind of guy.

So I forced a smile back to him.

I was sorry I was so powerless when it really mattered.

Matzo and the Guard all silently looked on,

「He’s done the same as that demon dog…」

「Yeah, it’s the Blood Redemption. I use my blood to improve my physical strength. I’m squeezing out all the final power I have. Just one shot left! Then you guys can clean up after me! Captain!」

Before Matzo could answer, Bradd jumped in the air.

Even with the rope around his neck, Gallam was flailing around violently on the rope, twisting in the air.

He began to rotate around like a screw in the air…almost like a tornade.

If he just hanged there, he’d be a punching bag for Bradd, so he flailed around as defense!

But the dog’s true aim was obvious! The rope twisted clockwise and counterclockwise, unable to withstand the load and weight, then creaking and bursting in the air.

「He did it! He’s already escaped!」

The fibers of the rope had deteriorated and disintegrated in the air.

Now Bradd’s body was falling with the dog, almost sandwiched in the dog’s fangs!

There was the loud sound of smashing and chomping.

Bradd! NOOOOO!

I tried to scream.

Everyone’s facial expression froze.

The branch holding the dog lashed back at the release and collided with another tree, buzzing loudly in the air, scattering leaves all over…

…and I felt a hand on my head.

「Did I make you cry, munchkin? Look closely. He didn’t bite me.」

An intact Bradd said to me, apologetically.

I saw the color of his eyes were black again.

T…there’s no way you did it again!?

He pointed up at the false-Bradd, and seeing my trembling fingertips, scratched his cheek awkwardly.

「Yes, an illusion made from blood-cherry butterflies. You have to fool your allies and your enemy at the same time, right? And the jar of liquor is part of the illusion!」

I looked down and the jar was gone.

「Yeah, sorry. The liquor was my little gift. I hope he drinks as much of it as he wants.」

The guards were taken aback at what had happened, while the false-Bradd was chomped at and spread out into a flock of red butterflies.

Bradd closed his eyes as the next trap was revealed.

「There are a lot of types of traps out there. Too late for him, though!」

It wasn’t Bradd that was being chewed in that crunching sound…but that liquor jar prepared by the Orange Company.

The sound wasn’t bone, but glass.

And so the glass of the jar was smashed into a fine dust. The liquor came out and bathed the dog at close ranged…what a waste.

I heard mom and I both utter a tiny scream after seeing it.

I could have cared less about Bradd…right? But what about the LIQUOR?!

「Well, light as a monkey, mysterious as a mage, brave as a lion.」

「Thank you, sir.」

Matzo praised the boy and he responded by curtseying with his skirt.

Even though he was made up to look like a girl, it was clear what his gender was.

And the effect of the liquor was dramatic.

The demon dog Gallam barked like he was on fire and slammed into the surrounding trees in a cyclone of insanity.

His eyes rolled in his head as he spun round and round.

He bit and slashed around, hitting the tree trunk he was near with bloody force. It was like he was a dark cloud of destruction, but attacking a meaningless foe.

The dog’s lost where his enemies are!

「According to this message from the Orange Company, the liquor crazes the dog’s vision, hearing, and smell…I had no idea it was so effective, but I’m impressed. I won’t waste the time you’ve given me, boy!」

Matzo said, then roaring with a war cry, rushed in at the dog…he ran so quickly, his giant body seemed to move like light.

Or like a boulder rolling down a slope.

「After such an impressive skill, let me show you the iron fist’s power! Let your eyes feast on and ever remember the combined force of the Royal Guard!」

The iron fist of Captain Matzo creaked as he clenched it and pulled it back.

「Take this, monster! The power of a knight’s soul in one punch!」

He stomped his foot into the dirt and it sunk deep as he shouted and released his fist into the air.

His back foot flung back and scooped out soil and leaves into the air as if he had a tail, like low-flying birds scraping the water.

Gallam tried to bite out as if to counterattack, but the iron fist plunged into the dog’s snout as if it were sucked in towards it.

There was a sound like a massive mallet smashing into a brick wall.

The jaw of the dog jumped back into the air as if the contact point in the air had exploded.

WHOAAAAAAA, the Royal Guard shouted in awe.

The massive frame of the dog, which had never taken such a hit before flew back…even the trident attack didn’t score such a huge hit.

The dog slammed into a tree and fell onto it’s back, and then the young tree broke and landed on him.

「Remember that, demon dog! The sound of this fist striking is like a bell ringing to clear the tears of the babies and veterans you killed! The pride of the knights! And this punch is given to those countless innocent souls and those warriors as well. Can you even imagine the pain of the bereaved left behind in this world! Your sin that crushed their happiness will never be forgiven! This fist rings out to cleanse their sorrow! I swear that to this fist!」

Captain Matzo lifted his fist and shouted so to the moon.

That punch is stronger than your horse charge?! I thought knights swore by the sword…but can you swear and oath to a fist?!

As usual, all this showmanship just exasperated me.

「I’ll wait until you get up! That’s a knight’s compassion as well! The battle has just begun. The sorrows of all you killed wouldn’t be so kind!」

And Matzo doesn’t chase down and kill this fallen opponent.

I knew this and my teeth were chattering as I flailed around in objection.

CHASE THE DOG DOWN!

A dog doesn’t understand chivalry, you idiot!

You might be strong, but you’re stupid, too!

That’s why you died those 108 times protecting me!

「…the veterans he was talking about must be Brian and the other two…」

「I wonder if they’re drinking in heaven or in hell with a demon…」

「The boss is gonna claim the kill on this beast I thought we had hurt…what a joke.」

「After that punch and swearing, that dog’s going to come back to life instead of just giving up the ghost.」

Everyone in the Royal Guard was whispering to each other.

All the men were chatting because they thought Matzo had put the dog to bed.

Don’t get distracted, boys!

No matter how strong that punch is, the dog’s not just going to DIE!

「Hey you guys in front, you got some guts to chatter about me like old women, WHA?」

The demon dog Gallam threw off the tree and crept back to his feet.

SEE?! I TOLD YOU!

The dog didn’t seem hurt in the least, and you could tell everyone was now nervous upon seeing it.

「Hah! You take the full punch of a knight’s soul and dare to get up calmly…I see! Now it’s time for act two!」

Matzo’s fist was hanging by his side and was now thrust back into the air.

「What?!」

「Ah…」

「Umm…」

The veteran guards and Matzo both reacted to the dog’s actions like they were dumbfounded.

The dog had responded in a way no one expected.

The dog spun and tore off, retreating away at full speed.

These Guards, after seeing the almost-immortal and ferocious nature of the beast, were completely at a loss. The dog was running directly opposite to the direction they were guarding us, so it easily fled without any restraint.

Run away?! After the monster attacked me as it did!? There’s no way!

「Don’t let him go!」「Chase him!」

And so the Royal Guard immediately gave chase.

Whether it was injured or tired from the relentless attacks, Gallam fled with his tail between his legs and with an injured paw. He was desperate to flee, but sluggish like a snail…almost like he was calm in retreating.

「Only cowards run when the battle becomes hard! Fight like a monster until the end!」

All of them, including Captain Matzo were furious and attacked the dog like demons.

For those chivalrous men, the sneaky nature of the dog Gallam, running away and trying to escape, was unacceptable. They were indignant and chased him, completely collapsing from their defensive position. Because the dog was so slow, they even chased him on foot.

The liquor from the Orange Company had sealed the dog’s eyes shut like a lid.

But, for some reason, the dog’s mouth was pulled back in a calm look.

「No! Everyone, return! It’s a trap he’s pulling you into!」

But Bradd was too late when he shouted his warning.


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