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VOLUME 2: CHAPTER 85 - HER HAND

Status

Race Goblin

Level 3

Class King; Ruler

Possessed Skills Ruler of the Demon Children of Chaos; Defiant Soul; World Devouring Howl; Swordsmanship A-; Dominator; King's Soul; Ruler's Wisdom III; Household of the Gods; One-Eyed Snake's Evil Eye; The King's Dance at the Edge of Death; Magic Manipulation; Soul of the Berserk King; Third Impact (The Third Chant); Instinct; Blessing of the Underworld Goddess

Divine Protection Goddess of the Underworld (Altesia)

Attributes Darkness; Death

Subordinate Beasts High Kobold Hasu (Lv1); Gastra (Lv20); Cynthia (Lv20); Orc King Bui (Lv40)

Abnormal Status Blessing of the One-Eyed Snake; Protection of the Twin-Headed Snake

Lightning flashed before me.

"Turn me into a blade!Enchant"

I tried to brush away the lightning with Iron Second, but the moment my black-flame clad sword hit it, a piercing heat penetrated me.

Breathing became difficult under its terrifying pressure, and I couldn't help but look down for a moment as I grit my teeth.

"...Gu!"

I kept myself from crying out because of the pain as I looked ahead. I can't stop, I thought, not now. If I stopped even a moment, that armored carriage would surely leave me in the dust. I knew that despite all the blood rushing to my head, and so I forced my staggering feet to chase after it, glaring up the man on the carriage's roof as I did; that imposing figure of his with his sword pointed to the heavens looked just like an adherent of the Lightning God.

"Something... like this... Something like this!"

I don't care if he's a messenger of the gods, a hero blessed by the Third Daughter Who Rules Over FateLiuryuna, if he stands in my way, I will crush him! If he thinks this little lightning can stop me, he is wrong! And he will pay for that blunder!

My legs brimmed with ether as I moved along the ground, carrying with them the strength to crack a fissure across the very land I ran upon; the Blessing of the One-Eyed Snake has made the ether that much easier to control.

I set my sights upon the armored carriage. 10 steps... That's enough. I'll kill Reshia's abductor too. Watch me!

"GURUuu OAOA OoOoo!"

◇◆◇

"Heh, what a tough cookie. I guess that's par for the course for a monster though."

Gulland's senses tingled as he watched the monster approach. They screamed of the threat this monster posed, and he would be a fool to believe otherwise. After all, this very sense that was screaming at him now was something all first-class adventurers had; a sort of sixth-sense they relied upon to ensure their survival. Those who did not have it would not live long. In a sense, it was a skill that could only be learned by risking one's life.

That sixth-sense was screaming at him right now of how dangerous this monster was.

It was not such that he could absolutely not win against it, but he would certainly not be getting off scot-free if he fought it. That great sword over its shoulder was clad in the black flames of the Goddess of Vengeance, who rules the underworldAltesia." The resulting power when combined with that colossal body could only be imagined. Close combat was definitely out of the question.

Muscles developed far beyond any human's, arms a size bigger than his, and judging from how it was catching up to the carriage, a speed more than enough to excel in battle.

But if that's the case, then... he would just simply not engage the monster in close combat.

To begin with, adventurers hunted monsters as a party. Of course, there were eccentrics who hunted alone, but the natural strength advantage of monsters made fighting as a group much more preferable. The strategy was often the same: they would attack as a group to slowly whittle down the monster while conserving their strength.

It was because of that that Gulland had none of the purity of a knight. Instead, what he had was the ability to make the most out of every situation.

"Ruler of Wind and Lightning!Astaroth!!"

One of the unique skills the Great Sword of Blue Thunder possessed, Astaroth, shot out toward the enemy.

That flash of lightning split into three streaks. before turning into a whip of lighting that lashed at the approaching monster. Any human would turn into cinders before that attack that covered the whole road, yet the monster slipped past it.

"Kuhahaha! Not bad!!"

It was a reckless move, but the monster managed to make it happen, yet Gulland only laughed as a predatory smile appeared upon his lips.

"How about this then! Ravaging StormBarbatos!"

Gulland swept with his sword and a blade of wind shot out from the whirling air. It was the same skill that took out Hal's subordinates.

"Turn me into a blade!Enchant"

Like the very magmas that burned at the bottom of the abyss, the monster's voice resounded, chanting. At the end of which, the black flames clad upon its great sword doubled. And when it swung down that black-burning sword, it cut the blade of wind into two.

"Great! This'll make killing you all the more worth it!"

A voice howled within Gulland. Kill the monster! It said. Gulland did not try to oppose that voice; when he opened his eyes, the lips of his mouth split far apart to form a huge grin..

"I'll kill you, Monster! I'll fucking kill you!!"

Gulland laughed as he raised up his sword around which the storms gathered, invoking Frenzied Sword, the same skill that buried Gi Zo. The ancient grade sword in which was sealed a spirit sucked up the mana he fed it. Beads of sweat gathered at his brows as the wind howled.

Gulland swayed atop the carriage as it ran at full speed. Keeping his sword raised up with one hand, he held onto the roof with his other hand to keep himself from falling.

"Devour, o God of Lightning. Like the rage that rules my soul!Zu All Do Ishtal Zein Badion"

Gulland spoke in the language of the spirits, and lightning began to crackle with the great sword that had converged with the storm.

"Die, Monster!"

The maddened lightning whirled into a whirlpool as it shot forth toward the monster, but as soon as it did, Gulland clicked his tongue.

"I'll be taking this, Mr. Storm Knight!"

Long hair that fluttered in the wind, a light armor so dyed in blood that it had turned dark-red, and a pair of eyes upon which reflected ecstasy. The timing of the holy knight, Gene Marlon, also known as the lightning-fast knight was just too good, prompting the Storm Knight to click his tongue.

The attack Gulland sent just now was canceled out by the monster, but it couldn't get off scot-free. A huge wound opened over its shoulders from which blood spurted out. Any human would have died from such wounds, but the monster showed no signs of stopping.

"Tch, just when it was getting interesting!" Gulland spat.

"GURUuuoooOOOAaa!"

Blood spurted out from the monster's wounds as it howled in its anger, but despite that, it kept up the chase.

Gene followed behind it, obviously with the intention to attack from behind.

"What a horrible guy... Even though he's supposed to be a knight." Gulland spat as he watched the two.

It wasn't long until the exit. Soon they would reach the point where Gowen's regular army was waiting.

◇◆◆

Lili turned to Reshia when she heard the howls bellowing from outside the carriage.

It was a familiar howl, a howl under which she once suffered defeat, and as a result, grew. Yet it was also the voice of the king who looked after Reshia.

"Holy Knight, Gene Marlon!? Why is he here!?" Mill said from the driver's seat.

It was due to her saying that out loud that Lili could tell another powerful foe had joined the fray against the goblin king.

The king that ruled over the Demon Children of ChaosGoblin had returned from his trip, and made it on time. In fact, he was right at the carriage's heel.

When she thought that, Lili looked at Reshia. But Reshia only curled up after hearing the king's voice, blocking her ears as she did.

"Lady Reshia?"

It's true that they weren't always friendly, but after the time they've spent, even Lili could tell that something like a bond had formed between them, so seeing Reshia act like this puzzled her.

Reshia was a lot closer to the goblins than her. Was she mistaken? But then Reshia suddenly spoke.

"...Ms. Lili, what should I do?" Reshia asked.

The frail voice that left her lips truly suited the frightened young girl she was. Without her mask as a saint, without her duty as a priestess, she truly was but a girl afraid of her own destiny.

Stupid, Lili cursed herself at the back of her head as she hugged Reshia.

"...The king will die if he keeps following us, but... I..." Reshia said.

"It'll be fine, I'm sure. That goblin won't have a problem with your common soldier." Lili herself didn't know for sure, but she couldn't just leave Reshia alone.

Reshia shook her head. "Goddess of HealingZenobia" told me... The king can't win against two holy knights."

The power to know the future through one's patron goddess. Normally, that was something to envy, but now it had turned into a curse that binded Reshia.

"...If you give the order, I will fight too. I won't mind even if I make an enemy out of the entire country. I won't regret it," Lili said with resolve.

Reshia looked up at Lili, clearly taken aback. As far as Lili was concerned, it was an order that would end the moment the king died. And besides, she didn't mind using her life for Reshia. Seeing how sad Reshia was, even Gastra's ears drooped as he licked her hand to console her.

But in an ironic twist, Lili's words were what prompted Reshia to make her move.

Though shaking, Reshia wiped her tears and asked Lili to open the window.

"I'm sorry... I made a mess," Reshia said.

"It's fine," Lili faintly smiled.

After finally regaining her usual calm, Reshia spoke. "I'm going to say my goodbyes to the king."

◆◆◇

Relying only on instinct, I fended off that lump of bloodlust coming from behind. Three hits landed on my sword when I swung it to my back, but they were shallow and easy to deal with. That's probably because the bastard coming from behind is messing around.

"Ha ha ha, you're really amusing! I think I'll catch you and sell you to a freak show! I'll be sure to make a killing!"

Despite all that bloodlust, he doesn't seem particularly interested in killing me now. That's probably because he wants to make me suffer. What an audacious guy.

But thanks to him following the carriage has gotten that much more difficult.

It took all I had to stifle the impatience welling up from within to measure the distance until the carriage.

Can I make it...!? With this guy behind me and that guy in front-

"Ruler of Wind and Lightning!Astaroth!!"

Lightning flashed again, this time splitting into two streaks that turned into a whip of lightning as it lashed toward me.

As I dodged that attack, the bloodlust from behind grew stronger, prompting me to leap forward. The rapier from behind glittered as it aimed for my feet. I'm in the middle of the air, but I think I'll have to gamble. That bastard licking his lips right now has probably guessed where my feet will land, so-

"My life is like a cloud of dust!Accel!"

I invoked Accel, blowing up the ether behind me to push me onward into a wall of air. When I was about to land, I quickly put all my focus into gathering ether into my legs, and after mitigating the impact at landing, I ran again.

Damn it!

This acrobatics-like exchange is making it hard to concentrate. The carriage is getting farther and farther, while that rapier-using bastard coming from behind is getting nearer.

"Look out! Your back is open!"

The rapier grazed my side when it thrust out, cutting open a wound. The pain coupled with the piling irritation made me want to turn around and just tear that guy to shreds that very instant, but if I were to do that, I would never reach Reshia.

We've gotten quite far. It's probably not that much longer until we reach the human territory.

I have to go now.

Bracing myself for the worst, I took back my great sword after swinging it behind. Immediately, I felt the bloodlust coming from behind grow stronger.

"Well, I can't have you ignoring me, now can we?" The rapier-using bastard from behind said.

"Beat it!" I spat.

"Ravaging StormBarbatos!" The man in front chanted.

The attack coming from up ahead tore the air as it cut a straight line. At the same time, I filled my legs with ether and jumped, then in midair, I invoked several instances of Accel, gaining me some distance before landing as I ignored my creaking muscles, begging for oxygen. Then that rapier came again from behind.

I was waiting for you!!

I struck my great sword against the ground, giving rise to a cloud of dust and causing the rapier-user to falter for a moment, giving me the opening I've been looking for.

-Go! Just 5 more steps!

"Tch, careless! Frenzied Sword!"

I pushed onward as I fended off against the storm of blades, ignoring the attacks that would land only on my arms or legs, as they could not threaten my life. Creaks sounded from my sword when I shoddily received the enemy's sword.

-Hold on a bit more, Iron Second!

It was then that the window of the carriage opened. It was barred with iron, but on the other side was none other than Reshia. Then I felt a pain from my back. Damn it! He's here already!?

"King!" Reshia cried.

"Reshia!" I called out to her.

When our gazes met, I saw the trace of crying upon her eyes.

Another blow landed on my back.

"Run, King! I'm just going back to the place I came from! So...!"

You're telling me that's your decision, Reshia? You're telling me to run?

"Come, Reshia!"

I stretched out my hand.

"Don't be afraid! If you can't stand up against the gods on your own, I will stand with you!"

"King..."

"Take my hand, Reshia!"

Then I felt a blow land on my legs.

"Ku!?" I groaned out in pain.

"King!?" Reshia cried out.

"What a troubling little princess. I think she deserves some punishment, don't you?" The rapier-using man said.

"Lady Reshia!" Lili cried out.

A light blow landed on my back when the rapier-using man suddenly overtook me.

What is he-!?

The man swung his sword toward Reshia's outstretched hand, but before it could hit her, Lili managed to pull back Reshia. If it weren't for her, that rapier would have surely cut off Reshia's hand.

I looked to the ground, and for a moment I saw my unmoving legs.

It finally dawned on me that I was tumbling on the ground, and I cried out from the bottom of my lungs.

"RESHIaaa!!"

My hand couldn't reach her. There was nothing more I could do as I watched the carriage leave. Soon it will reach the end of the forest, where I see a great crowd of cavalry waiting.

As I kept tumbling onto the ground, I eventually slid across it. When I finally stopped, I spat out dirt from my mouth, and the first thing I saw was none other than the rapier-using man who got in my way.

He was smiling.

-Unforgivable.

Every word that came out of his lips only served to rouse my ire.

"And so, the princess was safely rescued, and she lived happily ever after..."

-They must pay.

"As for you, whose role is over... It's time to die! The Lightning-Fast Knight shall give you a prompt trip to the afterlife, Monster!"

-Those goddamned humans...! Along with all those fucking gods...!

From within me, in the deepest most part of my chest, a great heat began to stir, reaching out to circulate beneath my skin. The heat was so great it felt like there was fire underneath my skin.

"Well, it's goodbye!"

The rapier-using man thrust his sword to my chest, but there was no more pain to be felt. My body was already-

"GURUuRUUGAAaa aA Aaa AaAA!!"

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