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“Is this world the last place I have left?”
The Gluttonous World Tree smiled and pointed the tip of his black sword at Ain.
“Surely this is the last place left to you.”
Without hiding, the Gluttonous World Tree answered.
“Or you could say it’s your last hours. Once you hand over the reins to me, your mind will begin fading away, slowly. That darkness speaks for itself. When it overtakes this world, I will truly be one with you.”
“I don’t care what it takes. It doesn’t change the fact that I have to defeat you.”
Ain held up his hand and released a silvery white wind.
The Gluttonous World Tree, however, effortlessly caught it with his black sword.
Unlike in the past, the power did not seem to be thinning. The Gluttonous World Tree had a little more room to maneuver.
“I understand your strength better than anyone else. Your indomitable courage and refusal to give up.”
This was not to say that it had been a game.
It’s just that things have changed.
“The power of the hero king has been troublesome, but more troublesome is your heart.”
It was Ain himself who never faltered, never gave up.
“But soon. It won’t be long before I become one with you and embark on a journey that will devour everything in its path.”
The confidence that pervaded his words suggested that he had the power to discourage Ain, who would not be discouraged.
The Gluttonous World Tree did not say much, but he could imagine. At the very least, it’s a killing blow. It must be an overwhelming force that forced Ain to give up.
(What is he going to do…? It’s not just the collapse of this world. There has to be something else.)
The last place left.
This world was Ain’s consciousness itself, and when the world completely collapses, it would mean that Ain’s consciousness was dead as it was.
That was the current state of collapse.
As Ain’s power was lost.
“The power that could not be used due to the fact that my will is still there, is being used little by little?”
“I really adore you. How well do you understand me?”
“It is not because I want to understand you. I do it out of necessity. Don’t get me wrong.”
“It’s a trivial thing. All that matters to me is that you understand me. I don’t care about the process.”
His words were very unpleasant.
But even Ain can’t afford to worry about that.
(──It means that the gap in power will only widen from now on.)
With the celestial sphere turning black at the edge of his vision, he breathed calmly so as not to rush.
“Let’s finish this. Gluttonous World Tree.”
“Yes. I will unite with you and put an end to all this.”
Ain could still manage. He wanted to think that there was still time. Otherwise, only the future of defeat would be approaching.
The force with which he gripped Ishtar in his hand and the force with which he stepped into his legs gained momentum.
──A voice ridiculed it.
“It’s going well. I can feel my strength growing.”
The Gluttonous World Tree took distance and spread his hands out like wings. The black wind that contrasted with the silver wind that Ain released were sent up and overpowered Ain.
“It’s a pleasant sensation. I feel like I’m going to reach the top.”
The power of hero king Gail was mighty.
The awareness that he could wield superior power against the Gluttonous World Tree and the secret joy of having created the possibility of obtaining the future he desired was enough to make him feel happy.
But then again, things changed.
As Ain’s world collapsed, the advantage of special power was being erased.
The proof was in the air.
“──The demon king of the world tree declares. I will devour the shell that is you.”
For the first time, he has a murderous intent in his eyes.
The black hair of the Gluttonous World Tree grew close to the waist. Although his face had a bewitching appearance with a hint of sex appeal, the murderous intent in his eyes could not be concealed.
His smile was fearless without losing its composure, and the black wind he wore was still ferocious.
Suddenly, he disappeared without a trace.
“I am proud to see you so brave.”
He appeared from behind, so fast that Ain, who boasted of his divine speed, could not see him.
“I would have liked to see you beg for your life at least once.”
The voice from behind him and the subsequent burning heat that struck Ain’s back.
It wasn’t that he was burned──by the flames.
It was the heat of the blade cutting vertically across his back. The burning pain distorted Ain’s face, but he clenched his lips and swallowed a weak sound.
Twisting his body, he sliced up Ishtar from bottom to top into the Gluttonous World Tree.
Even though it was clad in the silver of the demon king’s inevitable destruction, the Gluttonous World Tree did not avoid it and caught it head-on. The hand holding the black sword was burnt and dripped black blood.
And yet, he was happy.
He sneered from a place slightly higher than the anguished Ain.
“More. Let your face be stained with despair.”
Ain turned, slipped past him, and raised his sword in a sharp movement.
“I am glad. I am glad that you, my empty shell, show your own brilliance in this way.”
The other party was the demon king. It was also a demon king that surpassed the Succubus of Jealousy, Arche.
He was the most god-like being in this spiritual world.
The one who was twisted down before his power was Ain.
The sword was reaped sideways as he turned around; that’s all it was.
Before the pure power and speed, Ain defended himself, but the impact brought him to his knees.
The silver power that Ishtar was clad in was far from the demon king’s certain destruction and had become a weak light as the world collapsed.
“I am amazed.”
The Gluttonous World Tree stroked his cheek.
Soon after, the tree felt a burning heat on its cheek. He reached for his cheek again without expression and noticed the black blood running down his cheek.
“Where does that power come from?”
“Look at this. This world is already so small, only a fraction of what it was when you first appeared.”
“My power has increased; your power has decreased. Yet, how can you hurt me? Certainly, the power of the hero king had the potential to kill me, but it would only be a dream now that you are so weak.”
His current physical strength was inferior to that of the young Ain.
Even more so than when he defeated the sea dragon.
“What are you standing on? You are just Ain, having lost all your skills. What drives you when you are just an individual who borrowed the power of the hero king and not even a demon king?”
“──As I said, there’s no reason to give up!”
The power of the white silver utilized was endlessly weak and fragile.
There was almost no grip strength left in his hand that wielded the sword of the hero king. His steps were also weak and unreliable.
The only thing that had not diminished was his will to fight and his high spirit.
“It was awe-inspiring.”
The Gluttonous World Tree did not seem to be the slightest bit careless of Ain in front of him, even though he would have fallen down if he was not careful.
With his black sword, he showed a thrusting stance and was ready to intercept Ain as he stepped forward.
He deliberately let Ain slip into his bosom, and as they passed each other──.
“This is the end.”
He thrust the black sword toward Ain’s throat──That was supposed to be the case.
“You dodged it…..?”
“Don’t get me wrong! You were born from me; that doesn’t change the fact!”
Ain, who had managed to dodge just in time, thrust Ishtar in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, due to the lack of physical strength, it did not reach through the chest of the Gluttonous World Tree, but it ripped through the clothes, and the tip of the cut was sent to the soft skin, though only slightly.
As one would expect, the silver magic was strong in this situation.
The Gluttonous World Tree hurriedly cleaved the black sword to the side, sending Ain flying away.
It was only after that that he fell to his knees for the first time.
The two of them, Ain and the Gluttonous World Tree, were kneeling in oddly similar postures. The contrast was in their facial expressions.
“I told you. Don’t be mistaken.”
Ain stood up boldly in pain.
With a courage that he was proud to say he had never felt before.
“You were born of me. Except for the power of the demon king, we are equal.”
“So what? That doesn’t explain why you were able to hurt me.”
“Haha, don’t you understand?”
Their sword skills were evenly matched.
The only reason there was such a gap in power now was because Ain’s will was so close to death. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t do anything about it.
Ain stood up ahead of the Gluttonous World Tree and held up Ishtar in his hand.
“──You really are…”
“Yeah. I just need to be strong in this fight. If we were evenly matched, this would be enough.”
The Gluttonous World Tree deprived him of both magic and physical strength, but not of his skills.
“I told the first king that I would surpass you.”
It was because he swore so.
“If I can’t surpass you, then those words will be lies.”
‘Kuku….. hahaha….. hahahahaha! I see! You say you have surpassed me and become stronger in this battle!”
The Gluttonous World Tree belatedly stood up and laughed.
His wounds had already healed, and Ain, seeing this, muttered, “As expected,” with a sigh.
“I’ll correct what I said about you being an empty shell. Even if the demon king has taken everything from you and you are empty, the courage that you have built up is still admirable.”
Hearing the words of the Gluttonous World Tree, Ain recalled that when he was a child, he was disinherited as an inferior elder brother.
Skill and discipline enabled him to take advantage of his toxin decomposition to gain power from the magic stone, but if he lost that power, there was only a little that remained.
He stepped in.
Just to go forward, to defeat the demon king.
“──My past, it hasn’t gone away.”
Another sword fight, another rivalry.
The power of Dullahan, even the ice of Upashikamui.
He could avoid it. He will not be struck by a fatal blow.
“I am here. I may be just Ain once you take it away from me, but I’m not gone yet.”
Looking back, his life had been full of ups and downs.
He crossed the sea, became royalty, and became a hero for defeating the sea dragons. He traveled to various cities on the continent to conduct research and met many people in the process.
All of them are precious treasures for Ain.
“I’m not going to let you take my world away from me anymore. For that──I won’t lose.”
The Gluttonous World Tree’s body trembled.
Was this fear? No way, to me? He thought.
Was he afraid of Ain, a dead man who could not be said to be fluent or proud of his rigid strength?
Ain’s body was battered and gushing fresh blood as they crossed swords. However, the light in his eyes did not disappear, and he constantly confronted the Gluttonous World Tree.
It seemed that the fear he felt earlier was not a misunderstanding.
“So that’s what you did when you gave birth to me….. So that’s it…”
The blood dripping from the newly carved wounds on the cheeks caressed his lips. As he tasted it, the Gluttonous World Tree marveled as he realized that he had unconsciously retreated.
Soon, though, his eyes widened, and the corners of his mouth relaxed.
Ain had no time to notice this and fought gruffly.
(I must hurry up! I don’t have time!)
His blade reached out. Compared to the past, the blade was much more powerful.
After exchanging a few blades, he realized that the cheeks of the Gluttonous World Tree had secretly loosened, and his face looked eerie.
“Why aren’t you using your other powers?”
He asked, trying to escape from the eerie feeling, and the answer came easily.
“The power of the hero king is too much of a burden to handle!”
“In that case, you can give it to me!”
“I’m sorry, but no! Even if I don’t use it, it’s still my precious power! Besides, if there is some mistake and it is absorbed, it will be troublesome!”
“…..You just let your guard down a little bit!”
“Give me a break──. I know better than anyone else I can’t be so naive as to think that I can win by being too generous! I am not that stupid, you know!”
“How can you say that you are not when you speak of foolish wishes!”
“Haha! If instinct is a sin, then a beast without wisdom has sinned just by existing!”
Ain was so absorbed in the battle that he was unaware of it.
The jet blackness of the sky was swallowing up the celestial sphere, and the edges were swaying and shining to the point that a huge ball of light, reminiscent of a solar eclipse, was floating in the sky.
“I will not discuss what sin is and what justice is!”
At last, the swords exchanged were no longer evenly matched. Ain’s skill, which had seen through the movements of the Gluttonous World Tree in battle and overworked his brain to the point of burning out, was beginning to win out.
“If you want to take away the world I love, I can only stop you!”
Suddenly, the world shook.
The sky, which had been covered with blue, collapsed and turned black, and the atmosphere was eroded by a heaviness that was hard to describe as if it were hot or cold.
At the same time, the Gluttonous World Tree that had been facing Ain with the black sword moved away from Ain.
Ain’s body has only a little strength left. It could be said that he had been fighting with his emotions until now, and if he let up, it was inevitable that he would die in an instant. But he couldn’t be stopped.
Suddenly, he fell to his knees.
Ain kneeled down on the petals of the blue fire rose.
The thorns pricked near the thigh and dug into his skin. This pain was nothing serious. The problem was that his entire body was drained.
In a few seconds, he could stand up, but his whole body felt dull.
The Gluttonous World Tree said exaggeratedly with his arms outstretched.
In contrast, Ain, frustrated by the weight of his body, managed to put strength into his fingertips.
The fingertips gripping Ishtar were as weak as a baby’s.
No way, it’s already──.
“Finally. I’ve been waiting for this.”
The world that could be seen was shaken up. The visible world wavered.
“Not yet….. I’m not done yet…..!”
“You’ve had enough.”
The faint blue sky that remained was completely eroded and turned black.
Within that black sky was a huge ball of light.
Ain finally noticed its existence.
The ball of light was filled with a light that was darker than the black sky. From the shimmering white flame flickering at the edge, Ain could feel a dense magic power that he had never felt before.
It was a sign that the time allowed to Ain was almost up.
“Rejoice. The time for you to be you has come to an end, and the time for you to become one with me has arrived.”
A fist-sized light rose from the ground and flew into a black ball of light.
The blue fire rose, rotting away and lying on its side, was a painful sight.
“This is for you. This is the last gift to you, who will disappear from now on.”
More eyes stirred in the eyes of the Gluttonous World Tree.
A hair-raising awe.
“I will show you my gluttony. I will show you my hunger.”
Ain unconsciously pulled out his Ishtar, lashed it to his body, and thrust it into the throat of the Gluttonous World Tree.
It stabbed in without any resistance.
He did not avoid it on purpose.
Jet-black fresh blood danced in the air.
The sharpened senses could hear even the sound of hair brushing, and the breath was so noisy. Ain stared at the Gluttonous World Tree, which had become quiet while adjusting his disordered breathing.
The power that resided in Ishtar shimmered to kill the demon king, but the world tree was calm.
“Now, it is time for the end.”
The demon king of the world tree embraced Ain, who was by his side and whispered to him.
“What are you doing…..?”
The tip of the sword penetrated even deeper as he embraced Ain.
The black blood leaked out from the mouth of the Gluttonous World Tree, and it was obvious that it would be a fatal blow under normal circumstances, but an uncontrollable eeriness shook the heart.
And even if he tried to keep his distance, the arms that embraced him were so strong that he couldn’t escape.
“This power still only works here. Why, you ask? The reason is simple. Because you refused to become one with me.”
“Don’t be ridiculous! I’m still──”
“You want to say that you are still resisting?”
“Give it up. You don’t have the strength left in you right now to refuse me.”
It was already at the point where it was pointless to resist in the heart.
The Gluttonous World Tree spoke fluently even though his throat had been pierced, and his voice was full of passion.
“Let me recite. This is the power of the World Tree born from your body.”
A mystical hymn, as if played in a cathedral.
The sound of keyboard instruments reverberated throughout the world as if the ears had gone mad.
“In My arms, you may bask in the blessings and rest in eternal sleep.”
A passionate embrace, as if embracing a beloved one.
A forceful embrace, as if trying not to let its prey escape.
“Stop… it…! I have no intention of having a heart-to-heart──”
“We are not going to be in love. We will only be one.”
The two men stand still with contrasting expressions and demeanors.
The tone caused the jet-black ball of light to crack.
“──Pour down. My blessing.”
The light shone brightly, yet duskily.
All the power gathered in the jet-black ball of light dissipated from the crack.
A black glow pierced the heavens and gouged the earth.
It spiraled and made flowers dance.
It went without saying that it was untouchable. Everything that existed dried up, and the whole body shriveled up and turned black.
With a thud.
Ain, freed from the embrace, was on top of the blackened and withered blue fire rose.
The sword of the hero king had also changed, like a dull object that has been exposed to the elements for hundreds of years. It fell to the ground next to Ain.
“Into eternal sleep. From now on, you will satisfy your hunger with me.”
Ain, speechless, not moving a single finger.
There was only one other living being that could be felt. The only other living thing was a single blue fire rose, which had escaped death thanks to being at his feet.
One thought on “Maseki Gurume – Vol 9 Chapter 8 Part 2”
Thanks for the chapter