The Playboy Faces Death
After Tina and Nyannyan cut away the net entangling them with their blades, they had both escaped it.
Behind them, Jean spoke almost admiringly.
“Ohh? That net was actually quite sturdy, you did well to cut it.”
Tina cried out as she stood up.
But, Dylan was nowhere to be seen.
Only his hat discarded on the ground.
“Master!? Where are you!?”
Nyannyan shouted as she looked around, but there was no response. She even used her thief skill ‘Detection’ but was staggered when she couldn’t sense Dylan’s presence at all.
“No way…! He’s not on this floor at all, nya…!”
“Nyannyan, did you use detection!?”
“I’m using it, nya! But I can’t sense him at all!”
“He’s no longer on this floor, or even in Babel at all. On the contrary, he’s no longer in this world.”
“Because Dylan Albertini is dead.”
“That can’t be true…”
“Don’t mess with us, nya!”
Nyannyan yelled as she raised the sword in her right hand at Jean.
“My master wouldn’t die that easily, nya! He’s just hiding somewhere to make a grand entrance!”
“That’s right! You know we travel with the legendary jester, Dylan!? Your tricks are nothing compared to his!”
“Well, believe what you like. You’re about to die anyway.”
Jean drew the short sword hung over his shoulder ―― A katana.
Tina and Nyannyan braced themselves.
“We can do it…”
“Let’s go, nya!!”
The ninja’s hands moved. And from his fingers launched five throwing knives. It’s impossible for either Tina or Nyannyan to know this, but they’re ninja weapons known as kunai.
Tina managed to catch the kunai on her shield. But in that instant, even though he shouldn’t have anywhere to hide, Jean had vanished from her vision.
A shadow stirred to her right and something curved towards her at breakneck speed. It was like a bladed boomerang, a weapon known as a fuuma shuriken… She managed to parry it with her own sword.
Then, a voice echoed from below.
“Unleash Lightning・ Electric Palm”
With his enemy crouching low to the ground, her entire body covered by the shield, he emerged from the shadow and laid his palm on Tina’s abdomen.
Just before he touched her, she flew back violently. She had managed to dodge it. That’s how it seemed.
Following after Tina’s dodge, she was taken completely by surprise when this time he laid his hand on her stomach. As an electric shock ran through her, further conducted by her metal armour, she fell into convulsions.
That would be enough to kill an ordinary adventurer.
Ho ho, Jean laughed to himself under his mask.
Tina was mostly uninjured. The power intended to protect her had worked. Jean figured it must have been the magic Dylan had used before. But, he had now broken it with that single blow.
He couldn’t keep up his assault. Because, as he was thinking, Nyannyan flew at Jean from his right-hand side.
The paired swords arced. The right sword swinging at his throat was merely a feint, the real attack was the left sword swinging from his blind spot. Aimed straight at Jean’s leg.
Even Jean can admit it’s a good idea. It would be folly attacking him head-on, so her best bet is to go after a softer target. She moved in a way that took many years of training to master, recently enhanced by a powerful spin she had adopted from the ‘dancing’ training she had undergone. It was like a sword dance. It was as if she wasn’t a mere thief anymore.
――But, it’s so slow that he had time to yawn.
Looking straight into Nyannyan’s eyes, Jean barely moved his head to avoid the swinging right blade. Then, straight after, her left arm had been entwined in a rock like vice grip by his right and she had no idea when he had made that movement.
And before she knew it, Nyannyan had been flipped upside down and thrown into the dirt. A scorching heat spread from her right shoulder to her waist. Then, the dreadful sensation of cold steel running through her body.
It was painful.
Even though she had dislocated her shoulder, it was nothing compared to the pain of the slash.
She had been sliced in the back.
It was an attack so incisive she’s lucky it didn’t go right through her torso. She writhed on the ground as blood began to flow from the wound. Her hands are empty. She doesn’t know when, but she somehow lost hold of both her blades.
Biting back the pain and the tears, she struggled to move her left hand as she looked for something in her pouch. Her eyes darted around automatically, an important aspect of a thief’s job is the ability to assess the situation no matter what.
From what she could see, Tina was still on the ground not yet recovered from the electric shock, then she spotted Jean who had just thrown something.
The tip of a kunai flashed in front of her eye.
Through the back of her head. On the right side of her face, an agonizing pain like she had been thrust onto coals suddenly bloomed.
The kunai that Jean had thrown had pierced straight through Nyannyan’s eye. Her brain refused to accept that horrifying reality.
Her left hand found what it was looking for and, despite the pain, she managed to drink the potion she’d grasped. It was like water on those hot coals.
As the bottle left her lips, she realized that she had been pierced by kunai one after the other all over her body. But,
――She couldn’t move.
She couldn’t have known, but at that time the poison coated on those kunai was coursing through her veins.
Her eyes began to grow dim.
She’s already beginning to lose sensation in her body.
Falling back to the ground, with the blood beginning to flow profusely and the knife stuck in her eye, her breathing began to grow faint.
As the thief lay dying, the tank still felt the convulsions of that electric shock. It had only been three seconds since she received the attack, but the situation had already gone so far south.
“【Art of War】Hammer Blow!”
Raising her sword, Tina unleashed her warrior skill.
The power of the strike rivalled Jean’s own attacks, but he easily dodged it.
“I really hate you adventurers so god damn much…”
She had used her warrior ability without thinking, so as she fell into that period of cooldown Jean grasped Tina’s head.
“You always think you’re such hot stuff…”
And he smashed Tina’s face into the ground with all his might. He even jumped as he did so to really drive it home.
As he held her head to the ground, Jean unleashed lightning again.
Tina’s body began to shake and twitch violently. Fluids began to leak from every hole.
As he stamped on her head, Jean cried out.
“BUUUUUUT YOU’RE SO DAMN WEAAAAAAK, HUUUUH?”
Her mouth dangled open, unable to move. Her tongue is touching the soil, but she can’t taste anything anymore. All her senses are paralyzed from the shock.
“Come on, Warrior-chan. You don’t think you get to die that easily, do ya? I need you for Dylan’s torture routine, after all. In front of him, I’ll mutilate you. Inside my barrier, of course.”
The ninja laughed.
That malicious, grating laughter was painful to Tina’s ears. The fact that a person could hurt another human being in such a callous way shook her to the core.
Just in front of Tina’s eyes, Dylan’s hat rolled into view as if it had been caught on the wind.
It was as if in prayer that Tina used the last ounce of her strength to reach out to that hat.
It’s hard to see through the tears. But, that man has to be alive. He’ll certainly come rushing in if she calls out to him.
――Dylan-san, Dylan-san, Dylan-san!
The hat shook slightly.
Jean watched it with a glare.
The ninja didn’t even think about the possibility of Dylan coming back.
Escaping from that barrier is impossible. Even a shinobi from the same school as him would take a considerable amount of time to break out. It’s not something some playboy can manage.
As soon as Tina cried out, a wave of cards surged from the hat as if at the head of an angry tsunami.
The playing cards rose all the way to the branched ceiling, then began to twist and form as if they had a will of their own.
Into the shape of a dragon.
WOOOOOOOSH…! The playing card dragon swooped down towards Tina and Jean.
Then, after swirling in a vortex, the dragon separated from Jean. And Tina, who had been at his feet, had completely disappeared.
On the back of that dragon were two girls.
Of course, when a man stepped out from the mouth of the dragon, it couldn’t be anyone but it’s master.
“Sorry for the wait, young ladies!”
As he held the hat that had been on the ground to his chest, Dylan winked.
◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆
It was just as he had said.
It should have been impossible to break out of that barrier.
However, as Dylan fought against those skeletal monsters in that hellscape, he noticed something as his great sage level began to rise.
Even within that barrier, summoning magic was usable. He could call on spirits to assist him.
That means, that world was connected to the spirit world.
If he travelled via that spirit world, he could return to the real world.
That was Dylan’s flashy escape method.
But, in order to do that, he had to face death.
You can’t enter the spirit realm with a physical body.
He had poured his magical energy into hundreds of playing cards… And sealed it. Sylph and the other spirits had taken those cards and returned to the spirit world.
The last obstacle in his plan was how to return from the spirit realm to this world. In the spirit world there is no concept of time, or at least it doesn’t operate on the same plane as time in the real world.
But, spirits don’t have the means to summon themselves into the real world.
A call from the physical realm is necessary.
Yes, a summon.
When a mage summons a spirit, magical items are used. Aiza had used a crystal ball.
To call on a human such as Dylan, the caster would need something that belonged to him as well as a manifestation of their personal bond.
For example, a top hat and a cry for help from his dear companion, Tina.
But still, the probability that Dylan would return completely intact was infinitely low. The spirits were all staunchly opposed, but Dylan had a conviction. He would succeed, no matter what. That’s because――
“I relied on your luck, Tina!”
Dylan laughed as he jumped up onto the dragon, next to the two girls laid side by side on its back.
“Oh dear, Nyannyan seems to be a bit sleepy.”
“M-Master…? I can hear your voice, nyaa… Where are you…?”
Although Nyannyan has her remaining eye open, it’s hard for her to see anything anymore.
Dylan laid his hand over the eye with the kunai sticking out of it and began reciting an incantation.
A complete healing magic from the priest job.
Dylan slowly pulled out the kunai stuck in Nyannyan’s body one by one, using the restorative magic as he went.
Was that enough?
Nyannyan’s wounds weren’t just given first aid, they were completely healed, even the lost eye was restored.
“Nnya…? I-I can see… I can see you, nya!! Master!!”
As Nyannyan jumped up to embrace him, he also cast healing on Tina.
“I had a pretty bad scrap down in hell. Thanks to that, I earned a lot of experience. ――Hey, Jean, thanks!”
As he intercepted the kunai thrown at him with his own playing cards, Dylan shouted out to Jean.
“Hey… Dylan Albertiniiiiiiiii….!”
“I’ll have you pay dearly for this. My performances don’t come cheap, after all!”
The playboy who returned from hell stood atop the dragon made from playing cards as he faced off against that ninja.
（ ﾟ Дﾟ）Well I mean that’s one way to make us hate a villain, good god