Volume 7, Chapter 19: The Demon’s Temptation, Part 3
“……Hmm, Yuru-chan is the Saint after all?”
With the girl’s sudden appearance before her, Kanzo felt a tinge of surprise, but immediately schooled herself, giving the golden-haired girl in the black dress a composed smile.
Yurushia narrowed her eyebrows slightly at Kanzo’s words, and slowly tilted her neck to the side as she smiled pleasantly back at her.
“Ah……? You’re not surprised, are you?”
“Somehow…… I had the feeling that you weren’t simply “normal”.”
To Kanzo, Yurushia was a highly suspicious girl.
She gave off a presence that made Kanzo feel at welcome, like any common adventurer. Yet, she had breathtaking beauty and elegance that would not have been strange on some princesses.
Still, even having noticed that she wasn’t normal and knowing full well that a beautiful “young lady” they termed a [Saint] was coming, her sense of recognition had gone awry. She was unable to place the title of [Saint] to her in her mind, even after knowing all that.
Right now, just looking at Yurushia gave Kanzo the chills, and she trembled, knowing full well that she was at least on the same power level as a [Hero class] like herself.
“Were you just acting back then?”
“No…… that was “me” as well.”
“Huh…… So, then, what’s a “Saint” doing in a place like this?”
Kanzo raised her magic power output, baring her teeth in an intimidating smile that would scare even most knights. Yurushia only deepened her smile.
“If you call me “Saint” in this labyrinth of the dead, I’m not quite sure how to respond… What a strange question to ask…… Hero of Earth.”
“Oh…… so you knew of me? What a mischievous child.”
“Hehe…… If you are a [Hero], then shouldn’t you rightfully cooperate with me to eliminate all of the dead bodies in this place?”
“…… If you’re even a real [Saint], that is.”
“I’ve never really identified with that, myself.”
What a bother…… Yurushia put one hand on her cheeks and let out a small sigh just like a young noblewoman would.
Looking at her…… Kanzo was reminded of Yurushia’s earlier smirk and voice, and her pretty face, before she shook herself free of the haze in her mind …… and ground her molars together.
“This is a dungeon that is being managed by Gamble.”
“In that case, it’s alright to attack someone who was summoned in Sail, is that it? Won’t it become an international problem? Oh, I should really ask Sail, Gamble, Hawk, and Suzaku about this dungeon here, then……”
Yurushia giggled as she spoke, knowing full well that this dungeon was a secret. Kanzo noticed her meaning.
Kanzo didn’t know how much of it they knew, but she knew that they knew. If they realized that it wasn’t Gamble that managed this dungeon but Kanzo herself, the other heroes would definitely butt in.
If they did, they would discover that Kanzo was the mastermind behind the [Mass Zombie Outbreaks], and for her to keep her current fame and position, she needed to seal the mouth of the dungeon master, the Elder Lich.
But then, that would reduce all of Kanzo’s plans to nothing more than seafoam.
Even if she proposed a back-room deal with them to get it back, with that crafty Hero of Water – Kyoji around, he would take everything away from her if he could.
“……Taking my things from me……?”
All of the beautiful things in the world were hers, and anyone who tried to take them away from her was “evil”.
Without a single hint of any wind-up, she uttered a single word of power, and around Yurushia, all the corpses were vibrated to dust.
“Ahahaha, little girl! Trying to take things away from me,”
Kanzo shouted out with an in-suppressible laugh.[Light!]
As an explosive beam of light and heat burst toward her from that voice, Kanzo used [Acceleration] magic to dodge, as the light burnt dozens of corpses to ash in its wake.
“Tch, [Earth Shot]!”
Enormous shards of rock burst forth like a giant shotgun, and Kanzo plunged forward in their wake.
Kanzo favored the use of simultaneous weapon and spell attacks in her training.
Her muscles swelled, and around where she had heard the holy magic and the voice come from, she swung down with a sword of light from the [Hero’s Secret Arts].
“Aah, what a pain!”
Kanzo groaned in annoyance as the rock bullets and her sword strikes destroyed even more corpses.
“Where are you! Come out here and face me, you coward!”
Not having felt anything connect, Kanzo searched for Yurushia, and called out to her.
“Starting with a surprise attack, how nasty.”
That voice came from directly behind Kanzo.
“Tsch, Boulder Cleaver!”
As she turned, Yurushia was still standing there in a spotless black dress that hadn’t even been sullied, let alone damaged, and she parried her with a spear of light.
The magic sword coated with the power of a hero lost to the power of the spear of light and shattered.
However, Yurushia still ended up being blown away from the reactionary force, thanks to her light weight.
“[Spirit Descent], [O, Great spirit of the earth, bestow your power upon your servant].”
Without breaking momentum, Kanzo combined the spell aria for [Create Undead] that she’d learned from the Elder Lich with her own elemental earth magic, changing the corpses around Yurushia into zombie soldiers clad in rock armor.
“Eat the girl!”
But Yurushia, who should have been frightened, instead blew away two of the zombies that tried to attack her, striking the rocky armor off of their heads with a forehead poke.
The sacred light burned even the armored zombies to ash, and as it faded, Yurushia was nowhere to be seen.
Kanzo, despite her teeth grinding together, began to analyze the situation calmly.
It was harder than she’d thought. She’d thought that a sacred magic user would have battle endurance and be hard to defeat, but she hadn’t planned further than these moves.
And she had a high-power means of attack with that spear of light.
After breaking the sword that she’d just bought, Kanzo pulled the mithril longsword that she normally used, grinding her teeth together.
It was bad to keep fighting here.
It was hard to use Kanzo’s preferred earth magic with the magical nature of the dungeon’s walls and floors. Even if she could use shards of rock like this, she couldn’t use wide-area spells like [Earth Shaker] to cause an earthquake to attack.
And, of course,
“My [Magic Stone] nursery……”
Yurushia was destroying all of the corpses, either intentionally or not.
Further destruction would mean a delay in the plan. Also, it was unlikely that Yurushia would follow her if she moved.
It was also entirely possible that she would be able to escape once all of the corpses were destroyed.
It was a catch-22, leaving her unable to advance or retreat.
It was as if everything had already been learned, but remembering a feeling like attraction drawing her to this place, Kanzo cooled her perplexed head.
Should she continue fighting, or turn to negotiating?
Kanzo knew that if she were to continue fighting, she would have to seriously go on the offensive and give up on all of the corpses.
Making a deal…… From what she’d felt from having that conversation, she thought that she would accept if she made more concessions.
However, it wasn’t interesting or fun for Kanzo to just unilaterally lose.
What could she obtain…… or was it entirely possible to unsettle her?
A large gem had rolled over to Kanzo’s feet while she was thinking.
It wasn’t just any gem. Kanzo could tell by its brightness and the magic power within that it was clearly a [Magic Stone] had had achieved full crystallization.
“W-why is this here!?”
“I made it.”
Turning back toward the voice, she watched as Yurushia approached her slowly, with such a relaxed gait that she couldn’t believe that they had been fighting each other up until now.
“Y-you, why do you have this?”
“There’s more, you know?”
As she dropped a few more [Magic Gemstones] onto the floor with a clatter, Kanzo’s eyes went wide.
“……What do you want.”
As Yurushia took out more [Magic Jewels] and quietly waited, playing with them absentmindedly, Kanzo had a sour expression.
“I want to know Gamble’s [Hero’s Secret Arts]……”
Kanzo was both convinced and astonished at her words.
Yurushia was seeking the [Hero’s Secret Arts]. This battle had probably been a farce just to bring Kanzo to the negotiating table.
Given how much of each other’s hands they’d seen now, it was bound to be a dirty deal. Yet, this was something with far better guarantees than a contract with a major merchant.
She wanted the Magic Stone Jewels. But, the pride of a [Hero] lingered like sediment in a corner of her heart, and she was hesitant to pass these secret arts to someone who wasn’t a hero.
“You want the recipe too, don’t you?”
Yurushia’s words came like the devil’s whispers, tempting her with her desires.
The carefree Yurushia had somehow naturally sidled up to her, and gently whispered words into Kanzo’s ears, throwing her alertness into confusion.
“I’ll tell you a little now. You need…… strong ‘pure magic power’.”
“Pure magic power…… What are you saying, isn’t that impossible unless you’re a spirit?”
Kanzo knew that the magic power of a spirit was so pure that it couldn’t be compared to that of a human being, and their magic power efficiency was also good.
The scales fell from her eyes, as she realized that there were too many impurities in the magic power of a physical creature to manufacture a magic stone jewel.
And she was instantly disappointed as well. To obtain this pure magic power, she would have to capture a spirit and then force it into servitude.
But that would mean pitting herself against the spirits. And if that were to happen, Kanzo, who was a [Hero] by the grace of the spirit of light, could lose most of her power doing so.
While Demons were also spiritual life forms, the lesser demons had little intellect, and their magic power was as muddied as a human’s.
Calling a greater demon was possible, but she didn’t know what price it would demand in exchange.
“Ah, you seem to have forgotten something. ……here.”
Kanzo stared at Yurushia in surprise as she gently glided her fingers over her chest.
A [Hero] beloved by the spirits could create some amounts of pure magic power. But it was one of their “trump cards” that couldn’t be used without shaving off her lifespan.
“Fufu…… But, you’re not the only hero, are you, Kan-chan……?”
As Kanzo recoiled in shock, Yurushia gently smiled.
“That jewel looks good on a beauty like you.”
“……I-is that so”
“Kan-chan and I…… if we worked together, we could get as many as we wished.”
“Yes…… that’s right”
And as they spoke, Kanzo lost every bit of her normality.
“Well, Kan-chan. Shall we make a [Promise] to be friends?”
“……Yes, let’s. I promise.”
As Kanzo affirmed the words of the golden beauty, a thin chain glinted momentarily, sticking out from her chest.
I guess it ended up being a Demon-like feeling. It’s both easy and hard.
Next time, the final chapter of the volume!
Hah, didn’t actually see that coming, which is nice. Lovely chapter overall, hope your new years are going well so far, those hefty promised being kept.