“Oh, I noticed something!”
Lily clapped her hands.
“You noticed what?”
“Yes, yes. I noticed something interesting.”
With a sly smile, Lily said while dexterously playing with the dagger in her hand.
“It’s really rude of me to say this in our first meeting. …No, I’m not sure if I should even talk about it. Well, that’s just a lie. This Lily-chan will say it without hesitation.”
“Please do as you like. Without reservation.”
Edward’s composure may have faded, but it had not disappeared—confidence in his own abilities.
Even with three opponents, even though he was actually outnumbered, he showed the strength of will to continue to fight and not admit it and behaved so gracefully.
“You didn’t really choose the third place by yourself, did you, old man? Although I don’t really know about the black knight thing, it kind of sounds like that.”
“…..It seems that you like to make silly guesses.”
Edward answered in a very cold and inorganic tone of voice.
Lily turned her gaze unabashedly at the sound of his voice and continued to speak with a proud expression on her face.
“Hahaha, it’s in my nature. So, did you really just settle for third place? This is just a rule of thumb, but people who only have self-confidence and pride are the ones who lie at times like this. In the case of you, old man, you are strong, but… hmm, but you are still a liar.”
To some onlookers, this may seem like a childish stunt. But it contained too many words, just enough to shake Edward’s spirit.
Despite smiling, Edward had a blue vein on his temple.
“A condescending insinuation is a sign of the caliber of the person who utters it.”
“Oh, I don’t really care what you think of me. I was trained as a covert agent, so I don’t really care what people think of me. I’m good at being cowardly. I don’t care if I’m small. As long as I win, I have no complaints.”
“I see. So you were the most troublesome one?”
At first glance, Lloyd was the strongest, and Chris had an immense synergistic effect because of the influence of chemistry. Nevertheless, it was Lily who was Edward’s least favorite person in this situation and the one with whom he had the worst compatibility.
In addition, she had a first-rate mind. Despite being an enemy, Edward inwardly appreciated Lily.
At the same time, even if he didn’t like it, he reaffirmed this inferiority complex and thought about the future prospects in his mind. Now that his wounds had not healed, it was hard to imagine that he would be able to escape, let alone triumph at this point.
…..So he changed his mind.
“It seems to me that I must recognize you all as obstacles.”
He said that if he were unwilling to put out, he would not be able to go beyond that.
Edward reached into his pocket and pulled out a small black stone. He kissed it as if it were a scene from a play and gently wrapped it in the palm of his hand.
“The red fox race is very close to a different race. In other words, like the elves there, we have a core and a magic stone in our chest.”
“I am surprised that you shared the location of your magic stone with us.”
“This is because the location of the magic stone in human form does not change much. So, for example, we artificially extract the energy of the magic stone and pour that energy into the core. What do you think would happen if we did that──?”
Chris looked up with a start.
The energy of the magic stone was poured into the core. She remembered those words. Yes, that’s right. It was precisely the old research results that she got at Ist that remind her of the events of those days like a running light.
Lloyd, who noticed Chris stepping in unexpectedly, shouted.
“Please destroy that stone! Hurry up!”
Both Lloyd and Lily.
In response to Chris, who was in a devilish state of mind, they all stepped forward at once and closed the distance between them.
“If he does so, he will become very strong.”
Chris, who was one step closer in front of him, saw Edward gulp down a black stone as if he were swallowing a pill.
His larynx moved up and down, and Chris could see it being swallowed. His throat glowed a dull, pale light.
“──It’s not too late!”
Chris frantically stretched out her arm and thrust the tip of her rapier at Edward’s neck.
“No. Unfortunately, it is too late.”
Then, all of a sudden.
All three people except Edward felt as if they were floating in the water, and then, without warning, they were sent flying away by a powerful pressure.
“It’s a common story, isn’t it? The hero awakens to his power and defeats his evil enemy.”
Edward looked up to the sky with his hands outstretched in glee.
“I am in that very situation right now!”
Edward’s face was younger, and the muscles in his arms were fresh.
His voice was full of life, and his whole body glistened red. The ground beneath his feet was rotting and melting.
“Now I am as good as the Demon Lord Arche!”
Saying this with great enthusiasm, Edward, carrying his spear with pride, revealed his joy without hiding his feelings.
“You mean you’re on par with──the Demon Lord Arche?”
“I knew it… Edward! You are the artificial demon king who was being studied in the magic city of Ist…!”
This was not something anyone wanted to think about.
But Chris’ words had credibility, and Lily and Lloyd twisted their cheeks in grief.
“That man is useful, too. I was ready to kill him when he didn’t cross the sea with the lady, but with such a good research result, I have to forgive him.”
“As I thought, you had friends in Ishtalika, too!”
“I would not call him a friend. He is not working with us but for his own purposes. …I don’t know what his purpose is, though. Please calm down; I’m not going to run away.”
The dagger that Lily threw by surprise melted and shattered midair before piercing Edward’s swinging arm.
“Even so, I will not save you. After I cut you limb from limb, I’ll give your body to some tired Heim soldier.”
Edward then approached Lily with a speed that was unmatched before.
Lily was surprised but threw the needle-shaped projectile and moved away from Edward.
“I hope you don’t do that… I feel so sick I can’t get rid of my goosebumps!”
“Lily! Keep moving back! I’ll take the vanguard──”
“Stand back. You’ll have to wait.”
With a sound that cuts through the air, Edward cleaves with his spear.
“Ngh… ah… What power…!”
Lloyd blocked a powerful spear blow with his great sword, but even though he wanted to compete, the direct hit of the spear was heavy, and he felt some numbness in both arms and was frightened.
Besides, he hated the way the red aura burnt his skin.
“I have confidence in my swiftness too!”
Running through the shadows was a blonde elf.
“What can I say? I appreciate your effort, but you’re just being too loud.”
There was no such thing as skill, just power. Without looking back, he flashed his spear sideways toward Chris’s rapier, which was approaching from behind.
That’s just the only attack.
The three of them did not fall pass out──.
They all felt a sharp pain in their backs, but they all raised their bodies with their respective weapons as support.
“I feel exactly like the hero of the story. I’ve awakened, and I had a role to play. …Are you listening?”
Pure violence, as the saying goes. If it’s a blow from a distraction, then what if it’s a clear shot?
“Even so, isn’t this crimson a beautiful color… worthy of standing next to that one?”
The three of them wiped away sweat and blood. The red aura of the haze of crimson was gaining momentum, and they were fed up with something, a heaviness that had arisen in the depths of their hearts.
“Demon King Edward. That’s a nice sound, isn’t it? After all, I am the one who should stand next to that one. Get rid of that human quickly and create a paradise just for that one and me──”
At first, he sounded confident, but gradually his voice began to tremble.
“No, but that human is the one that actually overtook that one…?”
Surrounded by the red aura and dust, somehow Edward’s eyes were swimming. Unable to sort out his emotions, his words were randomly exchanged.
Without stopping, he thrust his spear into the ground and scowled at the palms of his hands on either side.
“No way, it can’t be──I was replaced by a fake before I knew it. It was definitely that one with such beauty and fragrance. But then why did she love that dirt and not me? She did not lay her body with me but allowed that dirt to have her body…”
“…..What is wrong with him?”
Lloyd couldn’t help muttering to himself as he watched Edward continue his monologue.
“I don’t know. But I don’t get the feeling that he’s acting on purpose.”
“Li-Lily-chan’s agrees with you!”
As Chris answered, Lily stepped forward with a lot of sweat on her forehead.
The footsteps were so heavy and sluggish that they made one feel as if one’s body had turned to stone.
Seeing this figure, Lloyd gently lends a shoulder.
“It was nothing serious, but a nice stone flew at me during the impact just now.”
Lily indicated the place where she had been injured, the kneecap. The armor she was wearing was heavily dented.
The pain could be dealt with by the magic tool Lloyd had received from Majolica, but the question remained as to the mysteriousness of this stage now.
Chris huffed in front of Edward, who seemed to have lost his mind.
“Perhaps Edward is following the same path as the Demon Lord Arche.”