Volume 8, Chapter 24: The Demon’s Trap, Part 4
As the hero of earth, Kanzo, was being held by the Demon, the other hero Minkichi was being pursued by a “Nightmare”.
Her party members stopped as she muttered.
“Minkichi-sama, what’s the matter?”
“I have a bad feeling about this…… Fia.”
Minkichi called out to the female knight that looked like a sumo wrestler as she slapped her own flabby belly.
Minkichi’s external appearance was…… well, her hair and skin were dirty, her usual behavior was enough to make someone frown, and she was even a craven who wouldn’t bat an eyelid doing terrible things, but only as a [Hero], she had surpassed the others in ability.
The other party members who had been scouted by Minkichi all shared her sympathies, which helped her to feel comfortable about being unpopular with the opposite sex. They trusted in Miyukichi’s senses and began to warily observe the dark corners of the cave.
Minkichi’s current party only numbered 4 women.
A musclehead that applied so much perfume to mask her orc-like body odor, Chi-chan.
The sumo-sized one who could hide an entire roast and a wheel of cheese on herself, Fia-tan.
The skeletal one with sunken eyes, Rena-chan.
The one who looked normal at first glance but was actually a massive pervert that liked molesting young boys, Miss Coco.
Of course, these weren’t their real names, but the nicknames Minkichi had given them.
Minkichi had personally trained these four [Hero Class] people, along with some other companions, but those that could not survive the chaotic battlefield that they had passed through had not been brought along.
And, despite their dishonorable behavior, both their skills and combat ability as a party was higher than that of Kanzo’s and Kyoji’s.
Thanks to Kyoji’s ploy – or rather, since she actually had tried to kill Kyoji and Nefertia by colluding with the beastmen army, it wasn’t entirely untrue – she had been branded a traitor to humanity and was being pursued.
If she had been given the chance to explain herself, there would have been many people defending her because of the fact that she had been doing the dirty work for many nobles and royals from other nations.
Minkichi had no intention of divulging her past sins without being pressed into a corner, but her accomplice, Kanzo, who feared being tarnished by the same brush had pursued Minkichi to silence her.
Suddenly, someone screamed, and the members of the party all turned to look at her, leaping back in shock.
The muscle-headed knight looked confused and afraid, the heavy greataxe in her hands began to shake violently as she gripped it tighter.
“Hey, what are you doing, oooff!”
“Rena-chan”, who had impatiently approached her, was struck by the wild swing of the axe that lashed out as she had gotten closer.
Thanks to either her armor, or maybe the fact that she too was “hero-class”, she hadn’t suffered too serious an injury, but she was still unable to stand.
“Damn it! Coco, we’ll suppress her!”
“Fufufu, I understand.”
At Minkichi’s instruction, “Miss Coco” approached the front of “Chi-chan”.
In reality, they needed the magician “Rena-chan” to help deal with her deranged vanguard, but she was in no condition to move.
In the party, the only person with recovery magic was Minkichi, who could use the [Hero’s Secret Arts] to cast recovery magic, but with “Fia-tan” acting aggressively and taking such a huge berth in the cave, “Rena-chin” was taking potions to heal up.
“What’s wrong with you, Chi-chan!”
“You monster! Dieeeeeeee!!!”
“Miss Coco”, who was the party tank, took a heavy blow from the greataxe.
This time, the wild swing didn’t find its mark, but “Miss Coco” grimaced at the brutal blow filled with killing intent.
“Chi-chan…… come back to us”
Suddenly, an explosion of fire and a scream resounded from behind them.
While they had kept their eyes on “Chi-chan” in front of them, “Rena-chin” had crawled over and then trampled down on “Fia-tan”.
Frothing at the mouth with blood and staring with bloodshot eyes, “Fia-tan” seemed unable to move at all after taking a blow from that fire magic.
“Wh-what is that!?”
Minkichi’s mental state was shaken by this situation.
If this had been someone else, Minkichi would have been overwhelmed by the power of the hero, and thrown down without caring about her opponent’s life. But everyone here was Minkichi’s “friend”, or even her only family, the only people who she could be patient with.
How could she do something so terrible to her own friends?
If seems that her comrades who had lost their sanity now saw each other as their “enemies”, and began to murder each other with the full power of their [Hero-class] strength.
“Stop…… stop iiiit!!!!”
“M-Minkichi-sama, I will stop those two. The cause of this…”
“…… I’m sorry, Coco-san.”
That “unpleasantness” that she had felt at first…… she didn’t know if this was the reason why things were doing the way they were now, but she had no choice but the move upon the assumption that it was. Thus, she would go off to deliver the iron hammer of justice after overcoming this trap.
Minkichi felt the presence of [Evil] as a [Hero].
Turning all of her accumulated magic power into fire, she shot it forth with full power.
As a person who was formerly from the modern era, she should well have known about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning from using so much flame in a cave, but Minkichi’s anger at having her comrades hurt blew all of her concerns away.
SWOOOOOOOSH, the flame burned brightly up the passage.
Whether it was a normal magic beast, or some sort of monster, the magic flames would devour them. The only thing that could possibly defend against it was the “hero of the earth”, but that’s because Kanzo is a [Hero] as well. There was no way that he could have been giving off this evil presence.
In those hellfire-like flames, a shadow slowly moved towards her, one step at a time.
Coming out of the flame, It wore a unscarred [Clown’s] mask, even though its dress had been burned and their entire body was coated with the flames.
As the harlequin swung its arm, the burning dress disappeared, and she saw a glimpse of white arm for a moment, before a brand new black and white apron dress covered her.
She was wearing a strange mask, but that excellently-made, old-fashioned dress and that white hair could not have been anyone else but the attendant of that hateful saint that Minkichi had previously fought.
“You brat…… you were the one who did this horrible thing!?”
She didn’t know why the attendant of a saint would have such a malevolent presence and do such inhumane things, but thought that it might have been the influence of that little girl who had been taken in by evil and turned into the [Demon Lord].
Fannie, the attendant maid wearing a harlequin’s mask, tilted her head to the side cutely as if she didn’t understand what was being said.
“Stop playing dumb! You’re clearly the one who deprived them of their sanity, you brat!”
As she was spoken to, Fannie clapped her hands together with a *poff*, and the clown mask twisted into a rictus grin as if it were her face.
“What’s so funny!!!!”
“Well, you know…… You’re the hero of flame, who takes advantage of others’ human weakness, treats the young knights and their handmaiden lovers as slaves, right? That still hasn’t changed?”
To Minkichi, Fannie looked nothing like a “human” right now, but more like a fundamentally different existence, and she instinctively took a step back.
Was this maid always like this……? Although she hadn’t been serious before, Minkichi understood that this maid was capable of going head to head with them. But when she was with that Yurushia, or rather, the [Saint], the atmosphere was a lot more laid-back.
“Don’t you think it fine to do whatever you wish? Then again, it seems we’re running out of time.”
Minkichi heard the voice of “Miss Coco” screaming.
It seemed that in the meantime, “Miss Coco,” who was supposed to be stopping the two members who had gone mad, had been simultaneously attacked by both and put into a bad position.
In an instant. Even while she turned towards her companions for those few seconds, she could hear the maid’s voice breathing at her ear.
Minkichi boosted her body with physical strengthening, slamming her flamberge towards the clown masked girl.
Fannie evaded the blade by centimeters even as it was being swung from right in front of her.
At the same time, she felt it graze the frills of her dress apron, probably because of her “chest armor” that wasn’t quite in line with a twelve-year old’s.
As Minkichi tried to get her with the backswing from where she’d avoided the blade, magic power struck her, ruining her attempt.
Since she wasn’t being directly struck, Minkichi wasn’t taking damage either.
It might be that she was wary of Minkichi’s offensive power as a hero, but in the current situation, all it was was frustrating and embarrassing.
It seems that the greataxe wielded by “Chi-chan” finally broke through the shield, and “Rena-chin” burned through it with fire magic, taking down “Miss Coco”.
If Minkichi hurried over to heal her, there might still have been a chance of resuscitation. But Fannie wouldn’t allow that.
The two mad women began to attack each other again.
“Get out of my wayyyyyyyy! Get out of my waaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy!!”
The truth is that Fannie always smiles and looks as if she’s enjoying herself, but internally, all of her thoughts raged darkly.
This world…… even though she was being commanded by her most beloved of all the worlds, most respected of all, her Mother, her Creator, the Sun of her being, her [Mistress], she had still been drawn to those human beings called Heroes for a long time.
They surely must be tormented and their souls taken away. So Fannie had determined.
Something impacted Minkichi strongly on the back even as something shouted behind her.
It was “Fia-tan” who ought to have been taken down by the flame magic of “Rena-chin”.
She was cruelly burned all over, but still, she snarled and attacked Minkichi with her battered body, her eyes flashing dangerously like a drug addict’s.
“Fia-tan” usually used the martial arts of the “sumo-wrestlers”, making use of her immense girth, but Minkichi, thanks to her bodily fat, had [Impact Nullification], her body was still immobilized by the incoming impact that exceeded the threshold of her resistance.
“Stop it, Fia-tan, come back to reality!”
At the same time, the balance of power finally collapsed, and Chi-chan’s greataxe cut “Rena-chin” from shoulder to heart.
Minkichi’s scream of grief at the loss of another friend drew the attention of her killer, “Chi-chan”,
Minkichi was forced onto the defensive by the combined offense of the two hero-class fighters. But even under such circumstances, Minkichi was able to seize the gap in their offense and strike them down.
Yet, she was unable to lift her hand against her own comrades, even though they were being manipulated.
Fannie, the manipulator, was watching Minkichi from a distance, laughing as though she was declaring that dealing with Minkichi didn’t require her to get her hands dirty.
Actually, Fannie wasn’t able to completely control the so-called [Hero class] people, so was instead showing them a nightmare, where she too would be getting attacked if she got closer.
“…… It’s about time?”
It happened suddenly.
Until now, Minkichi had only been wary of the greataxe attacks, and the attacks by the martial arts that would hit vital points that weren’t covered by [Impact Nullification], but the strikes suddenly began to hurt.
And not only was that happening, but the [Automatic Skills] like [Evasion] and [Parry] weren’t working well. Minkichi, who was used to [Skill Combat], was still able to move, but found herself unable to even defend, much less attack.
“Well then, let’s go~”
And as she said that, Fannie used the [Lava Summon] that she’d used in her first battle against her.
There was no way that anyone could survive it in this narrow cave if they were human, but Fannie didn’t have to worry about it.
Even while she was being attacked by her friends, Minkichi stopped moving as the heat of the lava approached her feet.
As it was, she was surely going to die by her comrades’ hands. So………
So Minkichi gave up her mercy. It wasn’t about survival, but about her giving up the odds of surviving with her companions.
For some reason, it took longer for her to use, as she’d lost access to her [Magic Skills], but Minkichi drowned her former comrades with the high-ranking flame magic.
“Absolutely…… I will absolutely kill you!!!!”
In that dark cave, there was a human figure that walked as if every step were their last.
To be honest, it resembled crawling much more than walking.
Its body had been torn to pieces, and the combined blood loss and magic loss now meant that it was moving only by survival instinct.
“……Magic Jewels…… my magic jewels……”
At the same time, what was in her head was the image of herself adorned with beautiful [Magic Jewels] that made her the envy of all who saw her.
“Come on already…… my magic jewels……”
Even as she dragged himself forward in a daze, she noticed a figure that was in an even worse state than she was, covered in deep burns all over, crawling down one of the passageways.
It was the hero of flame, Minkichi, who had killed her irreplaceable companions who she should have trusted just to survive.
She had been kidnapped into this world, and indulged herself to conceal all of her anxiety, and now she had lost everything she had gained.
Still, she feared to die. Collapsing into a sitting position, she burned her life force to generate [Pure Magic] to heal her own wounds. There……
Minkichi’s heart was stabbed through by Kanzo creeping up on her with a knife.
“Fufufu…… Yes! I finally found it!”
Kanzo and Minkichi had been getting along like oil and water ever since they had met.
Still, she had been a hero who was the hope of humanity, and because they were both in the position of being accomplices to each others’ crimes, she had never aimed at the other’s life directly.
But now, Kanzo rapturously took away Minkichi’s life.
“Now, please die…… For me!”
“Kanzo…… why, me…”
As the words [So this is how it ends] left Minkichi’s lips with her final breath, Kanzo twisted the blade, and as the light faded from her eyes, her pure magic flowed into Kanzo.
“Ahhhhh, this is it!”
Kanzo had taken a potion from Noa, Yurushia’s butler.
After drinking it, she didn’t need to threaten the other heroes to extract their magic power, instead becoming able to turn a [Hero’s] life force into pure magic power for the creation of [Magic Jewels].
Under the effects of the potion, the pure magic power flowed from Minkichi, and was absorbed by Kanzo, only to flow back into Minkichi’s corpse again, infused with the potion’s power.
Now Minkichi’s body would produce the pinnacle of [Magic Jewels] just like how monsters would produce magic stones.
“It’s here…… it’s here it’s here it’s here it’s here it’s here it’s here it’s here !!!!”
And so, on the surface of Minkichi’s corpse was an egg-sized [Magic Jewel].
It had an iridescent beauty…… Both in its size and the strength of the magic, it surpassed any [Magic Jewel] she had seen thus far, clearly a gem worthy to be a national treasure.
Kanzo’s face turned from joy to annoyance.
The growth wasn’t stopping. Despite all of the pure magic from Minkichi being converted into the gem, the magic flowing from Kanzo didn’t stop.
“Wait, stop…… STOP!”
Kanzo tried to grab onto the [Magic Jewel] in a bid to stop it, but she was repelled by the strong magic, unable to even touch it. Kanzo would have been able to touch it if she squeezed pure magic out of himself, but since it was flowing out of her already, she was helpless.
As the life drained from Kanzo’s skin, her muscular body withered, becoming thin.
“Oh my, you finally got the [Magic Jewel]. My congratulations.”
Kanzo looked up toward the voice and saw the boy who primly wore his finely-made butler clothes looking back at her, smiling softly.
Without even wondering why the boy was here, Kanzo stretched out her withered, twig-like hand towards the boy.
“Ple…ase……help me…… Noa……”
“I can’t, Sir Kanzo. This is all accordingly to the wishes of “my master”.”
And at those words, the scales finally fell from Kanzo’s eyes. In Kanzo’s hazy sight, there was the figure of a man, standing behind Noa.
It was Kanzo’s deputy. The one who had completely turned over a new leaf, who had become Kanzo’s capable deputy, was looking at him with a rictus grin that wasn’t quite human, like Tina.
“Ah, he’s also one of Milady’s more capable contracted servants.”
And then she finally noticed.
The true identity of the maid, Tina, that had fought them.
If their master, Yurushia, was also the same, then her deputy…… and the boy in front of him were……
“Yes, how very observant of you.”
Leaving only that, the hero of earth Kanzo expired from despair.
Noa recovered the black souls and the magic jewels that was dyed in the despair of the two people, and, grinning sweetly to himself, he hurried back towards his beloved lady.
This one was a little long. The Demons appear quite a bit.
Nea is protecting the children outside.
Next time, Saint vs. Hero!
Well, that got pretty brutal, no joke.
This chapter is way way wwaaaay too long.