Maseki Gurume – Vol 9 Chapter 2 Part 2

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ED: LonelyMatter



Part 2

 

The two women were standing on the deserted streets of the royal capital when a number of ivies crawled up to them from the shadows of their blind spot.

“───! ───…”

Without looking back, Misty transformed the ivy into glittering sand, just as she had done with the Heim soldiers.

Arche moved next.

She exhaled with a huff… and delivered the purplish-blue magic into the air to the ivy to dry it out.

At first, it would be a small test. The two breathed a sigh of relief and remained vigilant, but as if mocking them, crystals attached to the branches spread out in the sky fell to the ground.

There were as many as stars, and dozens of them fell around the two of them──.

“Ahaha── aha… ha..?”

“──Fu… ha… ehe… hehe…”

Strange laughter gathered the ivy and roots around them.

As soon as they seemed to wriggle around the crystals, a new creature appeared from within.

“What is that?”

“It’s certainly not a friendly one.”

It was about the height of a typical two-story house.

It looks like a single rose, with shark-like fangs on every petal and a hideous tongue extending from its columnar head.

The mucus dripping from the tongue easily dissolved the cobblestones.

The two women were struck with a chill at the strange sight and appearance. What was even more problematic was that dozens of these creatures had sprung up around them.

“I wonder if they are strong.”

Those dozens of creatures turned their bodies as they all slurped at Arche.

They were not pleasant creatures to watch.

“Considering the crystals from which they originated, of course, they are not weak by any means. The most troublesome thing is not the strength of the individuals, but the sheer number of them.”

“I understand that. But why are they all looking at me?”

“…Ah, could it be…”

Misty clapped her hands.

“Maybe it’s because I was summoned by Ain-kun, but Arche wasn’t through Ain-kun.”

“I-I don’t get it! Is that why they’re eyeing me…? How dare they come around and make such a little girl their consolation prize…!”

Then Arche stepped forward, ahead of Misty.

“Wait! Arche!”

“…..It’s okay. I’ll do it myself.”

Without answering Misty’s call, she quietly but intimidatingly approached the rose monster.

Her long silver hair spread out as if she had been bathed in the wind.

Arche slowly opens her hands from side to side and opens her mouth to look at the main body of the Gluttonous World Tree.

“All who are awake sleep equally.”

The air rumbled dryly, and the ground and houses cracked slightly around the spot where Arche stood.

“And so.”

Even Misty, standing behind her, felt suffocated and weighed down and was unconsciously brought to her knees.

What was she going to do? Misty stared at Arche, who stood in her distorted vision with a closed mouth.

Thus, the Demon Lord who ran amok five hundred years ago.

The same viciousness as at the time of the great war that will go down in history.

 

“──This is just a dream. Just a little scary.”

 

Hahahaha, ahahahahaha, fufu… fufu… hihihihihi… ufufufu…

Several voices of all kinds, young and old, male and female, belonging to neither Arche nor the rose monsters, echoed throughout the royal capital. They were voices that reverberated, penetrated strongly into the ears, and entwined throughout the body.

The voices made the objects lie on their sides.

The houses that had not collapsed, collapsed all at once, and the rose-like creature also slammed the parts of the flower that had become its face onto the cobblestone pavement all at once.

It repeated its convulsions for a few moments, but shortly after, it stopped moving.

For a moment.

All in an instant, creatures and buildings alike.

They all fell asleep at the sound of the Demon Lord Arche’s voice.

“Look, they fell asleep.”

The dignified demeanor she had displayed earlier changed drastically, and with a blank expression on her face, Arche firmly grasped her hand.

It’s not easy to be on the receiving end of something like that without explanation.

“What the heck is that? It’s dangerous, you know!”

“Pi….. piiii!?”

Sweat was beading on Misty’s forehead as she watched from behind. The body’s weight was so heavy that she had to get down on one knee and let the staff support her body.

“D-don’t get mad at me… I did my best, you know.”

Misty was stunned and held her head in her hands as Arche looked downcast. The Demon Lord was a very special person, after all.

If anything, it was very encouraging in itself because, in this way, she had shown the power to influence the entire royal capital.

“Let’s talk about it after we get back.”

“That’s good. Don’t get angry──”

“I won’t get angry until we do something about Ain-kun.”

“──Harsh.”

Now, let the chase begin. While Misty got fired up regardless of Arche, there was a new movement from the Gluttonous World Tree.

Many, many crystals of magic power came pouring down.

This time, not only that but several thick roots and vines appeared from the ground and took up positions at a distance from Misty and the others.

Apparently, they considered Misty to be an enemy as well.

…The two of them shared the awareness that this was where the real work began.

 

◇ ◇ ◇

 

Inside the royal capital, Arche and Misty were fighting desperately, and the same was true for the two outside the city gates.

Ramza and Marco had crossed swords many times, but nothing seemed to be settled.

Ramza’s dominance continued, but there was a reason why the battle was still unsettled.

Ramza’s sword cut Marco again and again, inflicting wounds on his body. But in a little while, the wounds would soon heal.

The shimmering light that poured down from the great tree melted into Marco’s body with its magic power. It never ceased, even though he was wounded again and again.

Whenever they exchanged swords, the same scene would appear over and over again.

“It seems you’re not running out of magic.”

“Well, well. Isn’t it the same for the Commander?”

“Unfortunately, Misty and I are different. When it comes to Arche, she’s incarnated.”

“Hmm. It’s just as I predicted.”

Although it was hard to tell from the faceless Marco’s facial expression, his voice conveyed a sense of satisfaction.

“If I were to decide on the battle, the only way to win is to kill with one blow, where the supply of magic power is not enough to keep up. However, even if it were me, I can’t do that to you, Marco, who boasts more power than you have in your prime.”

“It’s because the Commander has added an extra touch to it.”

“Don’t be modest. If you don’t count me, there is no one better with a sword than you, Marco.”

“I am honored to hear you say so. …No, no, I am sorry to Ain-sama. Just summoning me consumes a lot of magic power, and yet he has protected me from the Commander’s attacks time and time again.”

Marco began to speak deliberately.

On the other hand, Ramza scratched his head and opened his mouth.

“You have a bit of a roundabout way of being loyal, don’t you? Marco.”

“There is nothing roundabout about it. I told you from the very beginning!”

Marco’s body glowed, and he ran forward with his great sword ready.

He confronted Ramza’s sword head-on with all the strength he could muster.

“I only wish for the happiness of my lord! I wish only for Ain-sama’s happiness!”

Marco’s blow at this moment was filled with a power that the original Marco could not muster. All of this resulted from the enormous amount of magic power that Ain kept supplying him.

“It’s a very unreasonable power! Strength beyond limits, yet no obstacle but yourself!”

“You speak of something quite strange. The Commander’s power is even more unreasonable!”

The battle continued.

Even though the barren land was transforming further, the two did not stop.

Even in a swordfight, which normally would have resulted in a loss of magic power, Marco used all the magic power supplied to his body and simply immersed himself in the battle.

In contrast, Ramza still had room to spare.

The difference in power between the two was such that even without the supply of magic power, the advantage remained the same.

“Hah… hah… hah…!”

“…..You’re strong. Marco.”

The dust rose, the earth gouged out, and the surroundings, more gruesome than during the war.

Both sides lacked a decisive move, and the game was in a stupefying stalemate. No matter how much they could heal their physical injuries, they were exhausted.

Not because of magic, but because of pure physical strength.

“It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe. Even though the opponent is in tatters, I have yet to strike a decisive blow. I have never experienced anything like this.”

No, it was only Marco who was exhausted.

Ramza still has room to spare.

“As expected of the Commander. I never thought I would be made to feel the difference in strength so keenly.”

“I, too, am painfully aware of my lack of strength.”

However, the speed of the supply of magic power to Marco had slowed down.

Overwhelmingly compared to just a few minutes ago, or even a dozen minutes ago.

After a few more minutes of crossing swords, the change was even more pronounced. The recovery of wounds was delayed, and the number of scratches on his armor gradually increased. Seeing this, Ramza called out to Marco.

“Have you had enough?”

“…..”

“I already know what you’re going to do.”

“Look what you’re saying. Do you think I’m going to back down? ──However…”

At last, Marco thrust his sword into the ground and released his fighting stance.

“It is probably because I was not worthy. It seems that I received too much power from Ain-sama. If you take into account the battles in the royal capital, he is supplying me with too much magic power.”

“Ah… so that’s what it is, after all.”

“This is the end of my role. The next step is to leave the rest to the three of you.”

“I thought you were planning to do that. But I never thought that it would really wear out Ain like this.”

“I have told you so that there would be no misunderstanding. That I only wish for Ain-sama’s happiness.”

“I have often been told that my problem is that I don’t understand well enough.”

“I am sorry. I will keep that in mind.”

There was already no will to fight between them, and Ramza’s feet turned toward the inside of the royal capital. Then, a new tree root arose in the wilderness that stretched from the port town of Roundheart to here.

“I will be by your side later.”

Marco turned his back to Ramza and readied his sword.

“It seems you’ve been identified as an enemy, too.”

“However, we were able to waste more magic power than we had planned.”

──Ain, which had turned into the Gluttonous World Tree, was truly a powerhouse.

That was why Marco chose that method. He came up with the idea of wasting magic power that way before he was recognized as the enemy.

“I’ll be waiting for you inside. Hurry up and clean up and join us.”

“Yes── I have indeed received the order.”

Now, after letting out a single breath.

Ramza stepped into the royal capital and slapped his cheeks hard to brace himself.

 

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