There was no longer any sign of Krone.
The world was moving slowly. It was only Ain’s vision that was doing so precisely, but he was unaware of it.
It wasn’t long before the sea dragons, and Upashikamui reached him in a world that seemed to be feeding frame by frame.
“I offer you all of me.”
He looked down at the black sword and spoke.
“You can laugh at me all you want, an empty man who can’t use his powers. But it can’t end here.”
The black sword shook. He felt like he was being told it was not enough.
“I am aware that I am inferior to your master.”
The black sword shook. It felt as if he was being told that he was right.
The black sword stopped shaking as if it was listening to Ain’s words.
“I will surpass him.”
The heroic king who has carved his name in the history of Ishtalika.
The first king who, when Ain was still a child, had wished to be like him one day.
He declared that he would surpass him here and now, with wounds all over his body.
He lifted his black sword and held it at his side, revealing his absolute supremacy.
“Show me your power.”
Suddenly, Gail’s words came to his mind.
“Be a calamity. If you can’t, you can’t win against the calamity itself.”
He had said this in the battle that began in the depths of the great temple. At that time, he was fighting with words that had no context.
(Now, I think I understand the meaning of his words from back then.)
The premise was different.
Gail did not fight to defeat the demon king but to defeat the red fox. Maybe he said to become a calamity because he wanted more power.
“Fall. After you fall, that’s when the real battle begins.”
These words further confirmed that Ain’s prediction was correct.
The hero king Gail may have wanted the demon king’s power as well.
“If you’re not ready, you’ll just lose it.”
“…..I’ve been holding that for a long time.”
The jet-black sword blade cracked, and a dazzling silver light leaked out.
“If so, I’ll be the ideal that the hero king envisioned.”
The winds that soared over the ocean stirred the seas, and Ain’s surroundings were enveloped in silvery white prison flames.
“I, who have defeated the red fox, shall surpass the heroic king with the power of the demon king. ──If you feel the same way, here’s my promise.”
He took one look at the black sword and regained a strong grip on it.
The momentum of the silver flame increased, and soon──.
“──I will risk everything I have to become the demon king that surpasses the hero king.”
As soon as he made the declaration, the world shifted.
Before Ain knew it, he was standing in the great temple at the far end of the shrine. This must be a continuation of the memory of the first king that was interrupted a while ago.
Gail and the tree spirit who had stepped into this place after that, were in front of the pedestal on which the sword stood, and Ain was standing near them.
“If I had more power, I could have saved my sister. I don’t know how many times I have regretted it, wishing I had been as strong as her.”
The tree spirit seemed to have something to say.
He noticed this and smiled.
“In simple terms, she is stronger than me. It’s just that this sword and the skills I was born with are simply not good for the demon king.”
“Is that so? You seemed to be stronger than that succubus?”
“Hmm… I don’t understand!”
“Well, that’s just one of those things that happen. In fact, I have wished many times to become as strong as my sister and to become the demon king in the battle. However, it doesn’t mean that I can become a demon king just by wishing for it.”
“I don’t know how difficult it is.”
“How should I put it…? I think I want to be a demon king if I could be reincarnated.”
The people of Ishtalika would be astonished if they heard this.
The word of the first king of Ishtalika.
“So I’m leaving this sword here.”
His sword was thrust against the pedestal.
“Someday, man and demon king may join hands to fight the red fox. Or perhaps a demon king will be born to a human of the royal family to fight the red fox. Either way, this sword with my power in it will be needed. If a new demon king goes out of control again, I will be there to stop him.”
“You mean after a lot of time has passed?”
“That’s what I mean. Or so it seems…..”
He let go of the sword and turned around.
“Maybe I’ll come back for it myself. If I ever get reincarnated, that is.”
“Then I’ll wait for you!”
“Me and my sister will wait for you!”
“No, no, no, no! I’m just kidding!”
“I don’t know, but it’s okay! Even though I really don’t know!”
“Yeah! I’ll wait for you! I’m good at welcoming people back!”
Then the tree spirit sisters flew away.
They seemed to have gone off to play somewhere in the great temple, and Gail smiled as he watched them go.
Gail, who was left behind, was looking at his sword, not doing anything when suddenly he turned his head to where no one was supposed to be, to where Ain was standing.
“You should have figured it out by now. The sanctuary is a memorial to the warriors and a place to keep my sword sealed.”
Ain wondered who he was talking to, and their eyes met.
“I’m glad I spoke to you before you disappeared. Thanks to you, I can pass on all my powers.”
“──You can see me?”
“Yes. I’ve been waiting for the time to talk to you like this.”
“You──I thought you were dead, Your Majesty Gail.”
“Now I am the same as I was when we met here before; I am only the residue left behind by the sword. It is only my remaining power that speaks to you.”
Gail had a friendly smile on his face as he said this.
The face was very similar to Ain’s. In fact, they were identical. The only difference was the length of their hair and the way they were dressed. Standing side by side, they looked more like two identical people than twins.
“I couldn’t win. The moment I pierced my sister’s chest, it was as if Gail von Ishtalika had suffered defeat at the hands of the red fox.”
“Even I, too, was defeated by the demon king’s power.”
“But it’s not over yet.”
Gail looked Ain in the eye and assured him in a strong tone.
“It’s not settled yet.”
Ain said nothing but continued to listen to Gail’s voice.
A faint translucence appeared in Gail’s figure. The thought of him referring to himself as residue flashed through his mind.
“You know what to do now, don’t you?”
There is no need to think about it.
“I defeated the red fox. All I have to do next is stop my out-of-control self──the Gluttonous World Tree.”
Ain began to walk slowly.
He went in front of the pedestal where the sword was propped up and stared at it.
The black sword was different from the one he fought with in the real world, and it sat in its true form, covered in a dazzling silver-white light.
This was the true form of the first king Gail’s sword.
Despite its majestic and beautiful appearance, the rush of overwhelming power surging through his heart took his breath away.
“That’s why I’ve made up my mind. I’ve decided to really, truly end it all and give it the happiest ending possible.”
There was not a hint of cloudiness on his face as he said this, and the strength in his eyes shone brightly.
“Perhaps this sword will be gone when the battle is over?”
Gail nodded his head.
His sword, he said, would lose only the power he had bequeathed to it after it had served its purpose. Instead, he said, the black sword made of Marco’s material should remain.
Gail further addressed Ain as he reached for the handle of the sword.
“If you’re going to surpass me, you have to win.”
“You must put an end to all this and return to your homeland.”
Gail’s presence finally faded into the background. The voice seemed to have gone far away.
Ain didn’t turn around even though he knew it and only heard Gail’s voice and the beating of his chest.
He gripped the handle tightly, and lights danced from everywhere in the great temple. The sound of marching footsteps reached him from the end of the corridor that led here.
Before long, they were all gathered under the pedestal.
They are all the spirits who lost their lives in the Great War.
They were all kneeling at once, looking up at the two of them.
“I am going to surpass you now.”
After he said it, Ain’s body trembled.
It was not out of fear. It was because his heart was raging and elated.
“When it’s over.”
Gail’s voice trailed off. His figure was no longer beside the pedestal.
“Pull out this sword and call out the name.”
The inscription echoed in Ain’s head.
The surrounding scenery began to blur as he put strength into his fingertips, gripping the handle. The silvery-white wind emanating from the sword also combined to make the great temple disappear from view.
Instead, there was a sound.
The heroic voices of heroes. The ground shook the cobblestones with the thrust of spears. The sound of the wind as they drew their swords to raise them above their heads.
It sounded like a battle cry for the departure for battle or the joy of the awakening of the king’s sword that had ridden with him on the battlefield.
Soon all sounds faded from Ain’s ears, and what he heard instead was the roar of the sea dragons and Upashikamui.
The next thing he knew, the king’s sword was being held in front of his face.
Ain’s hand was attached to it, just as it had been in the great temple, just before he pulled it out.
But when he tried to pull it out, there was a weak resistance.
Surely, the king’s sword was waiting to be called by its name.
After hundreds of years, to wield its power as before.
“──Lend me your strength.”
To awaken the king’s sword to its true form, Ain called upon the name and drew it away.
Numerous glowing lights poured down from the sky, enveloping the entire royal capital. The dazzling tornado wind began to blow, and a silvery white fire scorched all things.
──The king’s power, which no one was allowed to resist, was manifested.
The sea dragons and Upashikamui were transformed into particles of light in the face of this power.
Everything literally vanished from the world.
Ain von Ishtalika
[Physical Strength] 9999+α
[Magic Power] 9999+α
[Attack Power] ──＋α