Freaking long chapter :O .. enjoy!
Chapter 81: Thunderwaker’s final brilliance
But Shisandan merely spat a short sigh and regained his previous expression.
“Ares, I will handle Ruti. We will proceed like this.”
“The sword breaking was unexpected but I did anticipate the possibility of you failing. It’s not an issue.”
Shisandan stamped his foot down on the ground.
“What’s the matter Shisandan? You look like you have lost your calm.”
I provoked Shisandan. It would be great if this could mess up his pacing but he was not such an easy opponent.
“Yeah, I’ll admit that. Your younger sister is a dangerous existence. That is exactly why I can’t allow her to be anything else other than the Hero.”
“What are you talking about?”
Tise cried out as Shisandan and I were glaring at each other.
“Something is coming from below!”
“Below!? This is bad Lit! Run!”
I tried to rush over to Lit’s side but Shisandan stood in my way. Shisandan also prevented Lit from exiting the lift device.
“Come on, stay here for awhile.”
My sword was stopped by the sword Shisandan drew from his waist.
“What, that’s the Avenger!?”
My attention was drawn toward Shisandan’s sword for a moment. It was only for a short period of about three seconds.
But that short moment was undeniably time that I had lost.
The battle that would begin now lasted shorter than 30 seconds. When comparing to 30 seconds, three seconds was irrefutably time that I couldn’t afford to lose.
First, the lift device floor burst upward.
“A second Spirit Drake!?”
A Spirit Drake clad in armor appeared in the narrow space of the lift device and started attacking Lit with its mouth open.
Lit swung her shotel at the Spirit Drake’s face while in an unstable posture.
But Lit stopped her attacks in shock when she saw the figure grabbing hold onto the back of the Spirit Drake’s neck.
Lit’s body was bound by a holy chain. It was a powerful Covenant Magic that even Hero Lit was unable to resist.
Ignoring Lit’s cry, Theodora wielded her spear and jumped from the lift device.
Ruti perceived it was an emergency and rushed toward the direction of the lift device.
Theodora’s spear and Ruti’s Holy Sword clashed and their movements came to a halt.
Ruti asked with an incredulous expression.
“I am sorry but the world needs a Hero. I don’t mind if you hate me. I will split my stomach to apologize once this battle ends. I will offer this life if it can compensate for it. But Hero-sama! You are the only person capable of saving the world!”
Those words caused Ruti to hesitate. Theodora who was physically inferior was pushing Hero Ruti back.
Theodora’s Spirit Drake attempted to sink its fangs into Lit who was still bound by the chain.
Now wasn’t the time to worry about my own safety!
I abandoned defense and thrust my sword forward in order to break past Shisandan.
However, Shisandan did not attempt to block me and dodged to the side fluidly.
Cold sweat ran down my back.
I was lured in. This was akin to dancing on top of Shisandan’s palm.
But, but, but!
“Thunderwaker! Pierce my foe!”
I yelled with fighting spirit as my sword directly pierced through the Spirit Drake’s neck until the crown of its head and the momentum propelled me into the lift device.
The Spirit Drake died instantly. The drake could no longer exist in the current realm and its figure slowly dissipated.
As I grabbed hold of Lit and was about to leap out, at the corner of my eye, I could see Ares with a victorious grin on his face.
Tise threw two knives in order to halt Ares’ casting.
Ares used his left arm as a shield to cover his face. Fresh blood poured out from Ares’ left arm.
However, the pain was suppressed by the desire for victory that rushed to his head.
“This is the end! Iron Wall!”
The lift device that Lit and I were on creaked. The sound came from the ceiling.
Ares magically created a massive amount of steel clumps on top of the lift device. The appearance of a load that far exceeded the weight endurance of the lift device caused the brakes to crumble.
With ‘Lightning Feet’, I might have been able to escape on my own. If I released my grip on Lit.
I would not be able to save Lit even if I remained there.
If I was still Gideon, I probably could have come up with the most efficient choice.
“I’m sorry Lit.”
But now, I was Red. Even if I wielded Thunderwaker once again, I was no longer the person who was content with living through grueling adventures every day.
I did not know if I would reach but I did not let go of Lit as I leaped out of the lift device.
Ruti no longer hesitated. She clearly recognized Theodora who was in front of her eyes as an enemy.
The Holy Sword which was swung with both hands cleaved through Theodora’s spear and tore a deep wound through her flank along with the half-plate that she was wearing.
“As expected of Hero-sama … that is why, I …”
The appearance and defeat of Theodora, humanity’s strongest Covenant Magic-user and expert spear-wielder, took only a short 30 seconds.
But that was a decisive 30 seconds.
“I’ve won! This time I have finally won against Gideon!”
In the midst of Ares’ cry of delight, Lit and I plunged downward along with the lift as it was crushed by the lump of steel.
Living with the Divine Protection of the Hero, most of Ruti’s emotions have been in a suppressed state since birth.
In particular, she possessed complete immunity toward ‘fear’ since Divine Protection level 1 so Ruti had completely no idea what fear felt like.
That was the first cry of fear that came from Ruti since birth.
Her most beloved person died. He died in front of her eyes. She would never be able to see him ever again. He would never call her name ever again. She would never be able to touch his warm body ever again.
And this happened after she thought that she could finally convey her feelings to him. Even though the days to come were supposed to be a slow life where nothing happens and she would be able to spend time with her loved one.
Something within Ruti broke. Ruti had lost the something that supported her to continue living in this hell called life.
Shisandan lifted his four Sacred Avenger and stared at the dazed Ruti.
“You, who are no longer a Hero, will be shaken by Theodora’s betrayal and the death of your brother. It is only in that moment that my strength surpasses yours. All the groundwork was for this exact moment!”
Even under that circumstance, Ruti still intercepted Shisandan with the Avenger. She parried Shisandan’s attacks with pinpoint accuracy.
… The dying cries of the Holy Sword echoed in the room.
“It is praiseworthy that you could break the Sacred Avenger that Ares was holding while using that imitation. You have truly surpassed the realm of the Hero. But you must pay an equivalent price.”
A crack formed in the middle of the blade of the Avenger that Ruti was holding.
“Your sword was already damaged from that strike against the Sacred Avenger.”
Shisandan swung his sword in a circle and sliced through the floor around Ruti and himself.
Ruti, who was staring at her broken sword with hollow eyes, and Shisandan disappeared into the space below the room.
Laughter resounded in the room that had gotten quiet.
Ares laughed maniacally.
“I’ve won! With this, I can once again resume my journey with Ruti! See, I am better than Gideon! This is proof! He is dead while I am alive! The winner and the loser! The Sage and the idiot! Ahahahahaha!!!!!!”
Ares laughed as he formed a seal with his right hand.
A tornado formed with countless wind blades hidden within.
The tornado deflected the knives that Tise threw once again and it directly attacked Tise.
Her entire body was shredded and Tise collapsed into a sea of her own blood.
“A lowly Assassin like yourself actually direct your blade at me, your client?”
” … Why?”
“Ares-sama likes Ruti-sama right? How could you do something like this?”
“I don’t get you. Ruti is the Hero right?”
Because she is a Hero, any kind of sacrifice is permissible in order to be a Hero. Ares claimed that was the best for Ruti’s happiness.
Tise clenched her teeth. She ignored the blood flowing from her wounds as she stood and drew her short sword.
“Hou, amazing. I would not have been able to stand. Nevertheless, you are causing yourself unnecessary pain. If you just laid there, you would probably get away with your life? As long as you don’t die from blood loss.”
Entrusting Ruti-sama to such a man? That was out of the question.
Even if the world and God Demis-sama who bestows the Divine Protections allow it, I will never allow it.
Ruti-sama is my friend before she is the Hero. She is certainly strong. But she is also clumsy, acts off-point … and falls in love.
Ruti-sama is a regular girl! I will never entrust my friend to a man who does not understand that!
But Tise’s body disregarded her will and collapsed. Ares laughed as he looked at her appearance.
Tears flowed from both of Tise’s eyes from frustration.
Because Tise cried, ‘he’ stood in her place and stepped in front of Ares.
The tiny spider jumped out of the bag and raised both its arms as it stood in front of Ares.
Its opponent was mighty, it didn’t have any allies, its chances of winning was none.
But what about it! Ugeuge-san faced the ‘villain’ that hurt its friend with its measly body.
After seeing that tiny figure, the final remaining person stood up as well.
“Ku, uooooo! Mongrel!!”
Godwin cried as he threw thunderstones and smoke bombs. The roaring sound and smoke assaulted Ares.
Godwin did not understand the meaning behind this fight. In the first place, he was forcibly dragged here, confined to this place and had accumulated a ton of dissatisfaction. Just a while ago, he decided that this had nothing to do with him and tried to escape so now he pondered deeply the reason he was doing this.
Furthermore, Godwin was a villain. He was Big Hawk’s right-hand man and had perpetrated acts that others despised countless times. He was the main criminal in working together with a demon to distribute a dangerous analgesic.
Nevertheless, he held the belief that a villain has a villain’s way of thinking. There was a line he found unforgivable.
“I-I am also a villain! But even I can’t forgive a villain who does not consider himself a villain!! That is the only thing I can’t stand!”
Godwin’s teeth clattered loudly from fear but nevertheless, he still drew his dagger capable of casting the darkness spell and barked.
Ares was exasperated when he saw that.
“Worthless trash. This is why I hate brainless idiots. Force Shot.”
The force punch blew Godwin away along with the smoke and magical darkness, slamming him into the wall and he became still as he bled.
Ares confirmed with his eyes that Godwin was a small fry and lifted his foot.
Then, he stomped on Ugeuge-san on the floor, who was raising both its arm, without any hesitation.
“There’s no way you guys can win.”
There was no longer anybody who could oppose him.
All that was left was to listen to Gideon’s wretched end as he gets crushed beyond recognition underneath the steel wall. The same sound as the miserable arachnid that he was crushing right now.
The lift was about to reach the lower level’s floor. Red and Lit would have died in just a few seconds.
The large man with wounds all over his body focused all his will into his remaining left arm.
He did not look at the lift that was approaching overhead as he formed an image of exploding the energy he transferred from both his feet out through his left arm.
“I don’t really get difficult matters. What Gideon is thinking, what Hero-sama is thinking, what is right and what is wrong, only I would probably not understand anything at all.”
Danan clenched his fist. The wounds that were sealed by the Cure Potion opened once again and caused him to bleed.
“But, only in this aspect, I can proudly say that I have confidence in!”
Danan focused all the martial arts he had cultivated until now and thrust his fist into the air.
“Martial Art: Rising Dragon Howl!!”
A dragon rose from his left arm. This was Danan’s ultimate martial art which he used to pierce a huge hole and sink a Pirate’s galley ship using only his fist.
The dragon broke through the lift and disintegrated the thick lump of steel as it continued to rise even further upward.
“Gideon! And Lit! You guys are my friends! That’s why I will help you! That’s why I will not let you die! Only that is absolute! I won’t let anybody tell me otherwise!!”
“This is … Danan?!!”
Perhaps because Theodora lost consciousness, the holy chain binding Lit was dispelled but with the skills we had, we had no way of dealing with the large mass over our heads while we were free falling in a lift with nowhere to escape.
I was about to be convinced that it was the end and give up but a dragon made of ‘Ki’ pierced through from below and destroyed the large mass of steel above our heads.
“Lit, grab on!”
We rode on the dragon and stood back-to-back as we repelled the falling steel fragments together with our swords.
“Danan! That guy always appears when it counts!”
We grabbed hold of Danan’s dragon and returned to the upper level in one go.
Once again, Lit and I confronted Ares.
The situation in the hall had changed completely by the time we returned.
Shisandan and Ruti were nowhere to be seen. There was a hole in the room. The two of them probably dropped below.
Theodora had collapsed near the lift. She seemed to have fainted.
Tise and Godwin were also on the ground. They had suffered heavy injuries.
Ugeuge-san was also injured, seemingly having been crushed underfoot by Ares. He had fought as well.
And finally, Ares who was bleeding from his left arm glared at me with hatred.
“Why! Why do you not die! Even with that trash Divine Protection!”
Lit and I ran toward Ares.
We could only rely on close combat if we wanted to have a chance of winning.
“You have outlived your time! Die! Die! Die!! Gargantua Storm Javelin!!!”
Ares formed a seal with his right hand. A storm javelins was shot in our direction.
It was too fast, I wouldn’t be able to dodge it!
I clenched my teeth and prepared myself to endure it.
“O wind spirits!”
Lit’s chanted and the wind spirits danced around me.
The enormous storm javelin pierced us and we were exposed to intense lightning storms and strong gale winds.
Lit’s Spirit Magic was unable to completely nullify the power from a Sage’s most powerful spell but it was able to reduce it to a degree where I could endure it without losing consciousness.
Behind me, Lit was blown off her feet and I heard her tumble to the ground. I couldn’t sense any signs of her standing back on her feet.
Lit focused all her energy into protecting me and did not defend herself.
I clenched my teeth and suppressed my urge to look back. The time spent looking back would be wasted. It would be an act that would squander Lit’s sacrifice.
That would be many folds more painful than Ares’ spell.
Ares was already in front of my eyes. Another three steps. And then he would be within reach of my sword! He had no more chances to use spells! I will cut him down before he formed a seal!
(He’s probably thinking that but …)
Sage Ares was confident of his victory this time.
(Gideon, after you were gone, I acquired an even stronger skill. The preparations for the skill only possible for Sages, ‘Life Death’, a ‘concurrent activation’ of Secret Arts and Covenant Magic with both hands that can already be called an instant death technique, has already been completed. Without Lit’s Spirit Magic, a person like you with no resistance toward instant death technique from your Divine Protection will definitely be unable to defend against my instant death spell! I shall deal with your detestable brain using a skill you have no knowledge of! This is my victory! This time, you will die!)
Sage Ares attempted to activate the spell with his left hand that was pierced by Tise’s knife.
However, at that moment, the index finger on Ares’ left hand moved in a direction opposite of his will.
His left hand’s seal broke and the spell activation failed.
Ares turned back to look and saw Tise submerged in her sea of blood but with a victorious smile that Ares should have had on his face.
“Don’t underestimate my friend.”
Tise pulled on the thread that Ugeuge-san had wound around Ares’ index finger. Tise knew that Ares could use the concurrent activation skill. She had aimed for that moment while laying on the floor.
Ugeuge-san was not an ordinary spider. It was a spider that grew alongside Tise.
It’s Divine Protection was 『Warrior』. It was the lowest-grade of Divine Protection that was only capable of strengthening their physical ability but it still possessed the ability to withstand being crushed underfoot without dying.
Ugeuge-san did not rush out without a plan. It endured the crushing step and placed a thread around Ares’ finger.
“Bu-but, there was no way I would not notice that!”
Nevertheless, if it was under normal circumstances, Ares would perceive Ugeuge-san’s movements due to his inferior ability.
Godwin laughed lifelessly from the ground.
” Putting my life on the time for … sp-spider-san … I have really fallen too.”
Godwin’s tossed thunderstone, smoke bomb and his assault that he bet his life on. Those were all meant to divert Ares’ attention from Ugeuge-san’s movements.
“Ku, oooooo !!!!”
Red closed in. Ares desperately tried to cast a spell.
The actions that the two people and one arachnid bet their lives on did not even reach Theodora’s 30 seconds. It was just a mere second, an interference that robbed Ares’ finger of its freedom for just a short moment.
But the two people and one arachnid believed in that single second. That Red would win with that alone.
I sliced off Ares’ right hand which he tried to cast magic with using Thunderwaker.
I ignored his scream and followed with slicing off his left hand.
“Hand seals are indispensable for magic activation! Now you can no longer use magic!”
“A, ahh, ahhhhhhh !!!!!!”
Ares lost both his hands. To Ares, a 『Sage』, that was akin to robbing his everything. He had lost his magic.
“Ares, this is the end.”
I raised my sword to deal the final strike to Ares. Thunderwaker reflected the light in the room and shined.
“He-help! Shisandan! I’m going to be killed! Theodora! Return my arms! Anybody, help! Anybody! Help me!!”
Ares fell to the ground and plead for help as he struggled. But there wasn’t anybody who responded to his voice.
“Wh-why, why is it always you? When I am stronger, when I am wiser, why does everybody flock to you instead!!”
“Do you not understand?”
Ares looked at me. They were eyes filled with despair.
“He-help me, I-I was just doing what I had to do as the 『Sage』, Gideon, I … I was only …”
I channeled all my strength into Thunderwaker and swung it down upon my ex-comrade.
The sword ran through Ares’ shoulder until his side and completely bisected Ares’ body.
Blood flowed from Ares’ mouth.
“Dr-dream, my dream … dr …”
Ares murmured gurgling words from his mouth that was dyed red and his heart finally stopped beating.
His end was witnessed by Lit, Tise, Ugeuge-san, Godwin and myself.
In the end, he coughed out blood and Sage Ares never moved ever again.
Sage Ares was dead.
Sage Ares who started this story by banishing Red in episode one will now depart from this story.
To Red who was living a slow life, Ares was a past that he had to once again fight seriously.
He had been the villain which was not conscious of the fact that he was wrong and that he was the villain until the very end but with this, he would probably not have to be fixated on being the 『Sage』 that had to use his power to give people the life where they can fully utilize their Divine Protections.