The Fury of the Sword Demon
Time flows back even farther.
“…This is the worst.”
“…I wanna cry.”
“…I need to take a bath, right now.”
Cudd, Kyle and Leia looked like hell as they trudged back through the town gates, ghastly expressions on their faces.
The rookie adventuring party had tried to take on their first ever monster subjugation request together without the veteran adventurer at their side, but a terrible surprise had awaited them.
“Ahhh, this is the pits! I didn’t think that killing giant bugs would be so hard!”
“You were sitting in the back, right? We had to fight with those things barehanded, it got so bad that Kyle in the front looked like he lost his mind.”
“No, I was still all there? I was just trying to pretend I was somewhere else.”
They had received a request from a city midway between this remote town and the capital to exterminate giant bugs that had made a nest in their sewer system.
But, when they traversed those dark and cavernous sewers with the aid of the illumination magic 《Flash》, they encountered dozens of monsters in the form of cockroaches the size of men.
“Ahhh… Make it stop. Every time I close my eyes I can see their antenna wiggling about…”
“Shut up, you’re going to make me remember it… Uuuu, goosebumps…!”
Those two who quarrel day in and day out seem much quieter right now.
They had trained on their teamwork in preparation for this request but it didn’t end up mattering at all, those three E-Ranked adventurers had seen a vision of hell in those dimly lit sewers.
It was Leia who had screamed out in terror first, as she saw the cockroaches scuttling along the floors, walls and ceiling towards them.
“In the end, Shirley-san really is Shirley-san. She should have at least said something.”
“Hey, isn’t Shirley-san our friend?”
“It’s thanks to her that we got covered in cockroach fluids.”
In a place where a normal person would have cried out and run for their lives, these three had somehow managed to endure and in a way, they took another path down the road to becoming full-fledged adventurers.
But, they paid a heavy price. Early in the fight, Kyle’s magic through use《Fireball》and Leia’s runic arrows had been completely exhausted trying to keep the cockroaches at bay, as had Cudd’s magic through the use of his earthen barriers. There was no time to drink a potion either, as the bugs were all over them…
“I really didn’t think the day would come where I’d have to smash a giant cockroach with my bare hands.”
“I know… Did you see when I had to tear off one’s head?”
“Stooop! Can we please stop talking about this!?”
They must have begun to lose it a little because of their exhaustion, as Leia turned around and shouted at the two boys who recalled those horrors with weird laughs.
The disgusting feeling of what they were hacking and smashing had been transmitted through their weapons. Filthy blood and liquid had splattered everywhere. Because the blood and gore had slid down their weapons onto their hands, not to mention the times they’d had to grapple directly with the creatures, the feeling of disgust still felt vivid.
Even though they desperately tried to give themselves space to replenish their magic with potions, there were just too many enemies and close quarters fighting was inevitable.
It’s hard to judge just how fortunate they were as a party because these bugs weren’t particularly well armoured and could be easily pierced and caved in with their weapons, but in turn, they covered them in viscous body fluids as they expired.
“Anyways, I’m gonna go home and take a bath! I’m not coming out until I’m soaped up head to toe!”
At Leia’s anguished cry, Cudd and Kyle nodded silent agreement.
Of course, the three of them had tried to wash themselves in the creek that ran beside the road, but it was nowhere near enough. So, their number one priority right now is bathtime.
“Then, I’m heading off.”
“See you tomorrow.”
Kyle separated from the two of them on his way home. As he trudged home towards the orphanage where he lived, looking through the windows of the various equipment and weapon shops along the way wandering about how much he needed to restock on, he spotted five big looking men entering a back alley.
(Adventurers…? No, they look way too clean cut…)
He had a bad feeling… If he’d told some other person about this, they’d be wondering what he was so worried about.
But the scene caught Kyle’s attention because he knows that back alley doesn’t lead anywhere.
(Is there something going on there…?)
It was only curiosity that drove Kyle’s feet. The moment he stepped into the alleyway, he heard something that set his inner adventurer alarm bells ringing.
“N-Nooo! Let me go!”
It was the cries of two familiar sounding girls. A horrible feeling gripped his chest and he sprinted towards those voices, as he got closer he saw that two white-haired girls were being held in the air by two of those five burly men, whilst a sixth man he hadn’t seen before in well-tailored clothes was casting some kind of magic towards them.
His reasoning disappeared and instinct kicked in. Something flicked inside Kyle and he realized that he would risk his life to save those two girls… He barreled towards those two men who were holding Sophie and Tio and flattened them both with punches strengthened with 《Physical Boost》.
“Um, you guys are Shirley-san’s daughters, right? These guys seemed like baddies so I kind of just got involved, but what exactly is going on here?”
And so, the story resumes.
Although he had jumped in between the girls and those six suspicious men who had surrounded them, throwing punches as he did so, he really had no idea what was going on at all.
“Who on earth are you? Outsiders who don’t know anything would do well not to interrupt. And what’s more, you assault a knight whose life is pledged to the Emperor’s service… I believe you deserve a suitable punishment?”
Did he understand absolutely nothing despite what he had said? Rudolph Leblanc gazed at the foolish boy in front of him.
Kyle, on the other hand, was still at a loss. He could sort of guess that this had something to do with the neighbouring country that there had been a lot of tensions with lately, but he had no idea what this all had to do with the twins.
“…I mean, aren’t you guys just kidnapping?”
“Insolence! You dare mock knights of the Empire?”
“Eh? Ah, um, s-sorry.”
He had accidentally said what he was thinking… And covered up his mouth with his hand quickly. Now that he’s calmed down from his entrance he’s a little afraid of the men now surrounding him, but he then realized that the girls he held were trembling in his arms.
Even if they’re the children of the Demonic White Sword, they’re only ten-year-old girls. Just like he had always stood up for the younger kids at the orphanage, Kyle decided to be the shield for those two, cursing himself for ever having felt fear.
Seeing the boy glaring at him like that, Rudolph only sighed as if dealing with an unruly child and motioned for the knights to hold back for a moment with his hand.
“Are you sure about this? These two people are supposed to come with us at the behest of Their Majesties Emperor and Empress Albert and Alice. Are you truly aware of how severe a crime it is for a commoner from such a backwater country to interfere?”
“W-we aren’t princesses of the empire! No matter what you say, this town is our home!”
Another ridiculous word is thrown out and Kyle is back to square one. Sophie and Tio are princesses? And the Emperor wants to retrieve them? That’s what it seems like is going on judging by the flow of the conversation, but Kyle can’t keep up at all.
“I advise you to let the princesses return to their home country, I will not hesitate to treat you as a heinous felon should you interfere any more than this. If you understand, then abscond. I will even be willing to overlook your assault of one of my honourable knights as a ‘misunderstanding’.”
Sophie looked at Kyle nervously, whilst Tio looked around the back that shielded them to glare at Rudolph.
But somehow, ‘I have to punish these guys after all’ was the first thing that came to Kyle’s mind. If what they’re saying is true and this is a matter at the national level, then there’s not much Kyle can do as a single adventurer. If he resisted, he might be hauled away as a criminal.
When faced with a real crisis, the measure of a man is tested. Whether or not you have the mettle to grasp your own future, will you take that step forward?
The young and inexperienced stood up, frozen on the spot with one of his feet snaking backwards as if intending to run.
Nevertheless, despite the trembling in his limbs, his answer to the question was to put a barrier between them and the men that threatened the girls.
It was 《Force Field》, the first type of barrier spell he had learned from Asterios. Even though the barrier was so poor it would have made his teacher sigh in frustration, right now it was a symbol of Kyle’s resolve.
“What is the meaning of this? Did I not just say that interfering any more than you already have would be a crime?”
“No, I get that. It’s just that after hearing all that, I might be afraid, but I can’t do anything about that.”
Kyle was going through hell today. First, it was the giant bugs, now it was this crazy situation.
Were the words he was about to speak true? He doesn’t really know anymore. His voice trembled with uncertainty at just what he was plunging himself into, at just what risk he was about to take.
“But… I’m even more scared of seeing the person I love cry… Oh, I said it…”
If he ran from here, he would never be able to face her again. Not being able to repay her for saving his life, that was a prospect far scarier than those fearful memories of the goblin nest she had saved him from in the first place.
His legs had stopped shaking and his arms had stopped trembling, right now he was upset because he ruined his cool line with a bout of embarrassment, that was the present Kyle.
Not lying to himself anymore, he felt larger than life and poured all of his energy into the barrier that separated the twins from the rest of the men in the alleyway.
“You two! Get out of he-!”
“Don’t let them escape! Smash this barrier and retrieve the princesses!”
“《Wind・Let the Air Scythe Through My Foes》!”
“《Water・Let Bullets Wash Through My Foes》!”
“《Hellfire・Reduce My Foe to Ash》！”
“《Earth・Become a Lance to Pierce My Foe》!”
“《Lightning・Penetrate My Foe》!”
Five different magics are suddenly unleashed towards the barrier with a roar.
“Guh, Ugh… Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!”
Against magic that Asterios would have intercepted with little difficulty, Kyle’s barrier is on the verge of collapsing.
He’s pouring all the magical energy he can into it to repair it, but at the rate things are going it probably won’t even last for another ten seconds.
(With all this going on and no one has come to look…!? Did they use some kind of《Silent Field》in advance…!?)
If people had come to investigate when the twins had screamed, it would have been troublesome. If it wasn’t obvious enough already, using silence magic to block off sound escaping the alleyway, these guys were absolutely up to no good. Kyle only understood that thanks to intuition, but without trying to take time to analyze the situation anymore he twisted his neck around and yelled at the twins who were still standing behind him.
“Run to Shirley-san! Hurry!!”
No matter how strong the foes he faces are, he’ll always be on Shirley’s side.
In that way, the best thing for him to do is hold these enemies off so that those two can escape.
“Umm, uh, mama is… That’s it! Tio, use that!”
“Mm….! I got it…!”
As Kyle had to turn his attention back to the barrier, Sophie and Tio pulled a pocket watch out of one of their school bags.
At the same time, Kyle’s barrier shattered and all the magic smashed into him at once. Tramping over him as he fell, one of the knights raced towards the girls and just as he was about to lay hands on her, Tio pressed the winding stem atop the pocket watch.
At that moment, a white-haired woman suddenly appeared before the men, as if summoned from thin air. As the men stood dumbfounded at the demonic figure that had suddenly appeared before them… Shirley seemed to move for only an instant.
Rudolph who had been stunned by her sudden appearance is even more confused when the five knights suddenly disappeared from his sight.
The next thing he hears is the sounds of heavy thuds, one after another. He could hear things falling hard on the tiles of the roofs above them.
Looking at Shirley all he could see was a scabbard clasped in her hand, Rudolph had no idea what had just happened, but Kyle who was beginning to get used to Shirley’s speed from their training understood.
(She launched them all with the sheath of her sword… Faster than sound…!)
It was divine speed. After making such an exceptional strike, Shirley turned and knelt in front of her daughters with the face of a worried mother.
“Sophie, Tio, are you okay?”
They had been incredibly brave for ten-year-old girls, but the whole ordeal must have still been traumatizing. As those girls tried to hold back the tears behind their blue and red eyes, they hugged their mother tightly and Shirley stroked their backs gently.
“Ah… Oh… If it isn’t Shirley-sama!? It is I, Rudolph, who had the esteemed honour of being your servant all that time ago! By the way, where exactly are the knights who accompanied me…?”
But, there’s still one man who can’t read the air. Shirley stood up and didn’t even glance at Rudolph as she looked down apologetically at Kyle, who lay on the ground.
“I’m so sorry… That you got caught up in all this.”
“Ow ow ow ow. I… I’m fine, really. But…”
“You don’t need to explain anything right now… I know I’m imposing on you, but could you please look after my daughters for a while?”
As Kyle slowly rose to his feet, Shirley walked past him and drew the most powerful swords she owned from the Hero’s Toolbox.
The blue sword engraved with the emblem of the King of Beasts, 《Blue Citadel of the Country Ig-Alima》, and the red sword bearing the sign of the King of Birds, 《Red Fortress of the Faith Sul- Sagana》.
The two swords that had become emblematic of the Demonic White Sword ever since she saved the town from the Dragon King, shined with a light more furious than they ever had before.
“I have… a few questions… to ask this man…!”
┬┴┬┴┤•ᴥ•ʔ├┬┴┬┴ What’s going on in this alleyway?
Also, for anyone who missed it because published it in the middle of the night, I bought Volume I and shared the illustrations. The link’s below.