Maseki Gurume – Vol 9 Chapter 2 Part 1

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ED: LonelyMatter



Chapter 2 – Risking One’s Life

Part 1

 

It was while the three were on their way to the royal capital that the Gluttonous World Tree began to move. The tree roots that crawled across the cobblestones and bound the houses undulated in unison and attacked the three of them from all directions.

Misty was about to raise her staff.

“I need to make a test cut.”

Ramza put his hand on her shoulder and said, showing a cool profile.

Misty let out a short sigh, but instead of objecting to her husband’s voice, she replied, “Okay,” and took a step back.

Even as she did this, the numerous tree roots loomed closer.

Dullahan’s greatsword was waiting to intercept them.

“I knew it was coming, but it’s nothing like the tree roots I know.”

Although the moving tree roots were not ordinary tree roots, what was noteworthy about them was their hardness. While the blade did not penetrate easily, it was tougher than the bones of any of the monsters he had defeated in the past.

“It is natural. It’s not an ordinary plant, after all.”

“Yeah. Thanks to that, I could see that it was very hard.”

He could imagine that the trunk was also more solid than it looked. He knew from experience that it was more solid than rare metals and large solid rocks.

Even so, it’s not as if it could be his obstacle.

 

──His swordsmanship was above Ain’s.

 

He was proud to be the sword king, and his brilliance was the best in the long history.

Even the two people by his side boast divine speed that he cannot see through if he was not careful.

“How was it?”

“…..Not as bad as I had imagined before we landed.”

Therefore, even if it was an awakened demon king, if it was a terminal power, it was not even close to being an obstacle.

The tree roots that were coming towards them were all cut off without exception and lay on the ground. After being cut, the tree roots, which had been wriggling for a little while, eventually shriveled up.

The tree was attacked a second time and then a third time, but the result remained the same.

A momentary whirlwind swept through the area, and the tree’s roots fell to the ground, exposing the sharp cuts.

“May I join you?”

“Yeah.”

“Hmm. Then me too.”

The end of the unceasing rush of tree roots was no different. Where Ramza did not fight, his two companions were no less skilled.

The Elder Lich, who has mastered the essence of great magic, turned the tree roots into the sand, and the Succubus of Jealousy only exhaled a huff──and sent them into a sleep that would not awaken them.

But even then, the surging waves of tree roots continued to strike.

 

The three of them started running at once, increasing their speed toward the royal capital of Heim.

The roots, crawling on the ground in pursuit, soon began to slow down. Ramza turned around and saw that the reddish-purple magic was clinging to them like a chain.

“Is that your doing, Arche?”

“Hmm! Even if we beat it anyway, it will come back again, so I decided to let it fall down slowly!”

“…..You’re attacking in such bad taste!”

“Ugghh──! Th-this is what you call efficiency!”

While joking around, Ramza was firmly grateful.

It is indeed that thanks to Arche, no more tree roots were chasing them, and it was very easy to run compared to before.

The royal capital and the towering big trees were getting closer and closer as they looked at their surroundings.

The stage for the decisive battle was almost there.

“──”

But Ramza, who was running in the lead, suddenly stopped.

The place was right in front of the royal capital of Heim. The city was now so devastated that there was not a shadow to be seen, but not long ago, it was a place where the city walls were built. The gate was almost intact.

 

A loyal knight was standing alone there.

“It has been a long time, sir.”

“We passed each other only yesterday, didn’t we?”

“I meant that we exchanged words like this.”

“If you ask me, that’s true──Marco.”

Marco’s body stood out even at night.

The reason was that the blood vessels-like tubes running throughout his body emit a faint glow whenever they pulsate.

The color was much darker than when Ain went one-on-one with Marco. This proves that Marco was in his prime or even more powerful.

“I believe I notified you of the completion of the mission through Ain.”

“I have received it. I thank you for your concern for my loyalty.”

Marco replied, putting his hands on his chest and bending deeply at the waist.

“I have a new mission for you, Marco, Deputy Commander of the Black Knights. Join us and wield your sword to stop Ain’s rampage.”

“──”

“What’s wrong? Why don’t you answer me?”

Marco repeatedly extended his fingers as if clinging to the hand that Ramza held out to him.

But in the end, he shook his head from side to side as if he was blown away.

“Commander. I am afraid I have already received a new mission.”

He pulled a huge sword out of the void.

“…..As I thought, this is how it’s going to end up.” Ramza muttered sadly inwardly and brought out his sword as well, holding it up with one hand.

“If you cannot follow your commander’s orders, then it means that your loyalty has died.”

“Nonsense. My loyalty is not dead. That is why I take up my sword.”

Behind the abstract words dwells a loyalty stronger than before.

The opponent was Ain.

Before he could rejoice in his reunion with Arche, who appeared in front of him, he tried to show his loyalty to her.

“Arche-sama. I will never be ungrateful to you.”

“Hmm… I know. Marco is kind, after all.”

“…..Please forgive me. You know, after that battle, the one I truly served was──”

“Don’t say it. Enough.”

Ramza interrupted his words to protect Arche.

“We are going to stop Ain. If you stand in our way, I will show you no mercy. I will eliminate you by force.”

“Then I will only be loyal to my lord for his happiness. For that reason, I have no objection to fighting against the Commander.”

“I never thought a man like you would mistake the definition of happiness.”

“No. I have never mistaken Ain-sama’s happiness. If I had to say so, I would understand it more correctly than the Commander who thinks he can stop the rampage.”

“What do you mean by that?”

Ramza didn’t want to be drained by such a meaningless battle. He wanted to go to Ain immediately.

Ramza is inwardly frustrated by the situation.

“I will answer as many times as I have to. I will fight for my lord, even if it is against the Commander.”

Ramza’s eyebrows furrowed when he saw Marco’s body as he said this.

While Marco exuded a dense magical power throughout his body, he appeared to be clothed in too much magic power. In other words, it could be described as a waste of magic power.

While watching this.

“──!”

Suddenly, a flash of inspiration flashed through Ramza’s mind.

“Haha! You really are a pain in the ass!”

He suddenly disappeared──only to appear in front of Marco the next moment, swinging his sword.

“Darling!”

“Onii-chan!”

“You two go ahead! I’ll soon catch up with you!”

Marco turned his sword to the side and, without the slightest movement, received it effortlessly.

“…..As expected of the Commander. My arm went numb.”

“You say that, yet you didn’t even move an inch.”

Strong, fast, and skillful

From this moment onward, a sword fight, in which everything that anyone who handled a sword would surely yearn for was condensed, would be held.

The battle unfolded in front of the gates of the royal capital of Heim.

 

◇ ◇ ◇

 

Misty and Arche parted ways with Ramza and hurried into the royal capital.

Most of the city was already a pile of rubble, and King Garland’s prized Heim Castle was crumbling.

All that remained were a few private homes, but even these were covered with roots and ivy created by Ain, and the whole area was now the territory of the Gluttonous World Tree.

Compared to the port town of Roundheart, the area looked even more weathered.

“The evil presence for that boy was quickly sucked to death.”

Looking at the side of the passageway, several skeletonized bodies were lying on the ground.

It is obvious that they were former Heim soldiers, judging from the Heim armor scattered nearby.

“What about when Arche was out of control? Were you conscious?”

“I was for a little while.”

Misty looked at Arche with surprise.

“I wonder if you couldn’t resist.”

“I couldn’t.”

“Then how did you feel?”

“…..I think it’s mean to ask such a difficult question at a time like this.”

Mmm, Arche groaned and thought about it. Misty laughed, looking around warily, and waited for Arche’s answer.

“Maybe it’s an evolved version of the day I had a bad night’s sleep.”

“Yes?”

“Irritable, kind of sore all over, not feeling refreshed. I lay in bed and couldn’t fall asleep. The sheets, the feeling of my legs rubbing against each other, everything irritated me and made me want to cut myself to pieces. I want to click my tongue at a strand of hair on the pillow and burn the ill-fitting blankets.”

She continued to reply to Misty, who listened attentively.

“I felt like every living thing I saw was a vermin, and the only time I felt better was when I took a bath. I think I felt like that when I went on the rampage.”

Misty could only guess that Arche was conflicted, as she heard for the first time her own expression of her feelings at the time.

“What part of this is an evolution of sleep deprivation?”

“T-that’s why I said it’s hard!”

Misty smiled at Arche’s frustration.

“I mean, we have to help Ain-kun as soon as possible.”

“…..Hmm! That’s what I meant!”

When Misty finished exchanging words, she pointed her staff at the Gluttonous World Tree──At Ain, which was rooted in the center of Augusto’s mansion.

Next to her, Arche also changed her mind, and her body was covered with purplish-blue magic.

“Where should I attack from?”

“Anywhere you like, you can start from. You have to attack everything anyway.”

As the two were conversing, all of a sudden.

“──Arche!”

“Hmm! I know!”

The battle was about to begin.

 

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