Chapter 11: Demon
Luna, faced with humiliation from humanity, was trembling with tears in her eyes.
(…I want to tear that dark history to shreds right now…)
She was driven by an enormous urge to destroy it, but at the very last moment, she stopped.
Sarco’s words were running through her mind.
[What is displayed here is a replica. The original text is stored in the deepest part of the Kingdom and is still being deciphered.]
There was no point in tearing up and destroying the replica.
Unless something was done to deal with the source of all this ─ ‘Luna’s handwritten personal novel’, an unlimited number of copies would be created.
To erase her dark history, she needed to identify the location where the original text was kept and attack the source.
(…This is bullying that completely crosses the line. Humanity is truly unforgivable… I have no more compassion for humanity…)
Just as Luna clenched her fist, a tremendous roar echoed and the entire museum shook violently.
“W-what on earth is going on!?”
While the visitors, including Luna and the others, were confused, the sound of hurried footsteps approached.
“─Emergency call! This area is currently under attack by hostile demons!”
“Beginning now, we, the Holy Knights squad, will lead the evacuation!”
“Everyone, please don’t panic, stay calm, and follow us!”
After that, Luna and the others followed the Holy Knights’ instructions and headed for the exit through the emergency passage.
When they left the museum, they saw a completely changed royal capital.
Flames rose from the once beautiful cityscape, the paved roads were torn up, and they could hear screams coming from everywhere.
Above the city, a demon-like woman with wings was smiling evilly.
“I am Weiss Baderhorn, the ‘Voice of the Saint’! I came to convey the message of the Saint to foolish humanity!’’
Weiss Baderhorn, she appeared to be in her early twenties.
She was 170cm tall, had an androgynous body type, and had long ivory hair tied into a ponytail.
Jet black antlion wings on her back, a black heart pattern under her right eye, and eerily moving jet black eyeballs rolling around in both palms.
She wore a shredded Japanese formal coat made with black silk and tight black pants.
“L-lies! What ‘Voice of the Saint’…!”
“A demon like you has the nerve to use the Saint’s name!”
“Get out of the human country right now…!”
Citizens who live in the city voiced their criticism one after another.
“Oh my, what fine rabble. Try spouting such drivel after witnessing this ─ Silver Brilliance!”
The moment after Weiss aimed her right hand at the ground, a silver flash was released and part of the city was blown apart.
Roars and screams echoed, and people’s faces turned blue.
It wasn’t that they were frightened by the immense power of magic.
That spell had a ‘special meaning’ that transcended the destruction of the city.
“N-no… that can’t be…”
“Saint-sama’s spell… Silver Brilliance!?”
Silver Brilliance was a spell said to have been used by the Saint, and its usage and learning methods had been lost due to the infamous Saint Elimination Crusade.
In modern times, the only people who could use Silver Brilliance were the Saint and a very limited number of people close to the Saint ─ this fact deeply shook the hearts of the people.
Weiss, on the other hand, turned up the corners of her mouth into a smirk with satisfaction.
“Hehe, that’s why I told you, right? I’m the representative of the Saint! Her spirit who is suffering and cannot rest in peace taught me this Silver Brilliance spell!”
When she raised her right hand, a flash of silver was emitted over a wide area ─ explosive flames rose as if tracing the sky, and people’s screams echoed.
“Hey now, don’t sound so sad. You can die with the spell of your favorite Saint, right? Be happier!”
With a wicked smile on her face, Weiss used Silver Brilliance to destroy streets one after another as if to show off.
While that happened, a young Holy Knight ran through the sky.
“─ Water Shimmer Style ・Mist Slash!”
The blue slash that was released flew precisely toward Weiss’s neck.
“Oh, danger, danger.”
She fluttered the thin wings on her back, deftly dodging in the air ─ and frowned.
“Hmm… not a face I’ve been briefed on. Who are you? A Sword Saint?”
The Holy Knight floating in the sky with <Float> snorted slightly and held Exorcist Sword Rogurea in center stance.
“Hmph, you think I would tell a filthy demon my name?”
The man’s name was Rayos Reinhardt.
The Third Holy Knight Platoon, led by him, happened to be patrolling around the area when they sensed an abnormal magical reaction ─ they immediately rushed to the scene and discovered a cursed being who claimed to be a representative of the Saint.
“I don’t know where you came from but… I’ll cut you down right here!”
As he prepared for battle, a voice called out from the ground, “Wait!”
“N-no, Rayos! That’s too unreasonable no matter how you look it! Facing a demon when you’re just a student… that’s insanity!”
“Platoon Leader Rayos, this time it’s too dangerous. Let’s wait for your father, the Sword Saint, to arrive!”
“I think we should at least wait until reinforcements arrive from central…!”
The members of the platoon desperately tried to stop him, but Rayos shook his head.
“Father is currently fighting on the northern front lines! Even reinforcements from the central government will still take quite a while! If we wait for them to arrive, how many people will be sacrificed in the meantime!”
The Kingdom of Elgia uses its ‘main combat strength’ represented by the Sword Saints to protect the royal capital and guard the borders.
As a result, this city, located on the outskirts of the royal capital, had only the bare minimum number of Holy Knights deployed, and they were busy with rescue operations and managing evacuation.
In other words, currently, the only ones who could take on Weiss was the Third Platoon led by Rayos.
“Damn… even though I don’t want to die in a place like this… tch.”
The frivolous brown-haired man who was appointed as the vice-captain drew his sword while whining. Seeing that, the other soldiers also decided to fight.
The members of the Third Platoon rose into the air and prepared for battle.
Meanwhile, Weiss, who was quietly watching the scene, clapped her hands.
“Hyuuu, that’s cool! Shouting ‘How many people will be sacrificed!’…!”
With a sneer on her face, she provoked Rayos with her words and actions, but…
He calmly ignored her and gave instructions to his platoon members.
“The enemy is a demon, and we don’t know what kind of power she has hiding. Before she makes any strange attacks, we’ll take her out at once with our three-dimensional encirclement formation!”
The Holy Knights spread out and took positions surrounding Weiss.
“Hey, hey, what are you planning on doing? A bunch of big men holding swords surrounding a single woman?… Ah, I see. I’m sure this is how the Saint must have felt then.’’
Those words deeply affected Rayos and his platoon.
“Three hundred years have passed since then, but humans haven’t changed at all. You guys are like that anyway, aren’t you? Even if the Saint is reincarnated, you’re going to do the same thing over and over again, right? You’ll use her like a rag and then put all the blame on her and burn her to death in the end. ─Who are the real evil, humans or demons?”
Weiss’ mental attack.
She mercilessly brought up the simmering malice that humanity least wants to bring up.
One Holy Knight, unable to withstand it, recklessly attacked her alone.
“You bastard… don’t say whatever you want without even knowing what we feel!”
“Wait, don’t fall for her provocation!”
Rayos’ warning was in vain ─ Weiss’ arm pierced the Holy Knight’s abdomen.
“Alright, one order’s up~”
When she waved her hand lightly, the Holy Knight fell like a doll.
“Oh, scary scary. Just hitting the bull’s-eye and they immediately resort to violence.”
With a naughty grin on her face, Weiss licked the blood on her hand.
The Holy Knights tried not to show their emotions, but…
(Our, our ancestors, are so sinful…)
(Saint-sama, uuu… Saint-sama…)
They were severely disturbed by the relentless mental attacks.
(It’s bad if things continue like this, it’s completely at her pace…)
Rayos, after judging the situation,
“Don’t listen to her nonsense! She is not a representative of the Saint! She’s just a swindler! We are the spear and shield of the Saint! Destroy the demon in front of you without hesitation!”
He encouraged his platoon and rushed into the fray.
“─Three-dimensional encirclement formation, let’s go!”
Rayos and the others flew in at once and slashed at Weiss from all directions.
“Haha, too slow, too slow!”
She avoided the approaching sword flashes with minimal movement and slipped in sharp counterattacks as they passed each other.
One by one, the Holy Knights fell.
“Haha! What’s wrong? What’s wrong? Is that all you’ve got!?”
Weiss was simply strong.
Not only in magic, but her martial arts and physical strength were far superior to Rayos and his platoon.
The basic ‘specs’ of humans and demons were too different.
Seeing the Holy Knights fall one after another, the citizens kneeled and prayed desperately.
“Please save us once again…”
“Please, give salvation to humanity…”
The people joined hands and asked the Saint for salvation.
However, it was already too late.
The Saint was dead, no, they had killed her with their own hands.
While the people were offering meaningless prayers ─ Rayos raised his voice.
“─Don’t pray! Show your worth!”
While he launched a fierce series of attacks on Weiss, he cried out from the depths of his soul.
“The Saint saves those who are struggling and suffering, but still trying their best to live! Just praying can’t change anything and won’t change anything! Unless we prove that we are worthy of salvation, Saint-sama will not return…!”
Rayos’ Reinhardt family is a prestigious family with a long history of over 300 years.
Its founder, the first Reinhardt, was one of the few royal aristocrats who opposed the execution of the Saint.
[You are wrong! The Saint has caused many miracles and guided us! The spread of war in this era is because of bad governance of the foolish humans, and there is nothing to be blamed on the Saint! And yet… you put all the blame on her? Don’t get too carried away with your absurd ideas!]
The words of the first generation were correct. It was a perfect argument, with no room for rebuttal.
But, in that corrupt era, it didn’t matter whether something was right or not.
People were looking for an outlet.
Famine, disease, and poverty caused by war ─ the world was filled with negative emotions with nowhere to go.
A scapegoat to dump all that accumulated negativity was necessary.
The royalty and aristocrats gave the Saint that role and spread her unfavorable reputation everywhere.
It quickly spread all over the world, and the seething public opinion eventually turned into out-of-control justice ─ and led to the Saint’s death.
After the Saint’s execution, the first Reinhardt was stripped of his position as duke and imprisoned in an underground prison.
There he left behind a memo, which remains in the Reinhardt family to this day.
On the day of Rayos’ tenth birthday, his father, the head of the family, handed him the first generation’s notebook.
There, the scene on the day of the execution was vividly depicted… and the following pages were filled with words of hatred towards humanity’s folly, an apology to the Saint, and curses at his powerless self, followed by nothing but words of regret.
(Just before she was executed, the Saint didn’t say anything. She was stunned by the hopelessness of humankind. The Saint is dead, and we killed her with our own hands…)
Power naturally gathered in Rayos’ sword hand.
(The Saint held despair in humanity. She didn’t think humanity could be redeemed and no longer saw any worth saving it. ─ If that’s the case, I have to show it, I have to display it! I have to show the power of humanity! The progress of humanity! The fact that the people have changed! That is the only way to atone for the original sin…!)
In response to Rayos’ passion, a great light dwelled in Exorcist Sword Rogurea.
“─ Water Shimmer Style ・Mist Slash!”
A sword wound ran across Weiss’ skin, and a streak of fresh blood ran down.
That was the first wound she suffered during this battle.
“H-he cut Weiss!”
“As expected of Mr. Rayos!”
“You can win, you can win…!”
The morale of the Holy Knights suddenly skyrocketed.
“You’re a bit of a bit of a bother (he certainly has speed… but he’s still human after all, and his body is fragile… Just a single hit with Silver Brilliance, it’s over…!)”
“Hmph and you’re slow (the enemy is a typical heavy firepower type, and I have better mobility. The black eyes on both palms ─ as long as I pay attention to the source of the Silver Brilliance, the trajectory of the attack is easy to read. Enough to push through…!)”
Afterward, both sides pit their ‘strengths’ against each other.
Rayos single-mindedly closed the distance and used his speed to engage in close combat.
“It’s about time you drop dead…!”
Weiss launched an attack, prepared to receive damage, aiming for a one-hit kill with great firepower.
The balance of strength in the fight ─ was gradually leaning towards Rayos’ side.
(This bastard is getting faster and faster…)
What made the difference between the two was the existence of the Exorcist Sword Rogurea.
Each swing, which has been passed down through the Reinhardt family for generations, would buff those pure of heart and debuff those with evil hearts.
“S-shit… so annoying…!”
Weiss desperately waved both hands around and scattered Silver Brilliance in all directions.
Rayos couldn’t help but take a step backward, escaping the silver flashes that were flying in random directions.
When a distance was created between the two, Weiss flapped her thin wings and flew high into the sky.
“Planning on running away?”
“Idiot, who needs to run? This is called positioning.”
When she said that, she raised her right hand above her head.
“─ Silver Brilliance”
However, no silver flash was fired.
Instead, silver light gathered in Weiss’ right hand, as if she were collecting water in her palm.
“You fool, I’ve already seen through that technique. Because the spell is manipulated with your palm, the movements are monotonous and easy to read. No matter how much power you increase, it won’t matter if it doesn’t hit.”
“Hah, that’s shallow thinking. Whether it hits or not depends on the direction I aim it, right?”
At the same time as Rayos frowned, Weiss pointed her glowing right hand downward.
“Right now, there are a lot of people praying like idiots right below you. If you avoid the attack, a ton of worms will end up dead…!”
“Hey, you guys are the cravens, are you not? Ganging up and marking the Saint as a bad person, constructing a fire, and burning her to death, you humans are the greatest evil!”
Rayos bit his lower lip in response to Weiss’ verbal attack.
Throughout that time, the magical power gathered in her right hand continued to expand.
“Well, now, kind-hearted Holy Knight, how are you going to deal with this!”
What was unleashed was a gigantic silver flash that filled his field of vision.
The Silver Brilliance released by Weiss boasted power that was beyond standard.
“I-it’s the end…”
“There’s nothing we can do about such great magic…”
“Saint-sama, please give us salvation…”
While everyone was sinking into the depths of despair,
“Lowly demon… don’t underestimate humans, okay?”
Rayos was the only one there who hadn’t given up.
He threw down his trump card then.
“Gift activate ─ [Limit Burst]!”
At that moment, Rayos’ magical power suddenly increased.
Divine Gift [Limit Burst]. For an extremely limited time of one minute, the caster will gain immense power that exceeds their limits.
However, immediately after the Gift’s effect wears off, they will be unable to move due to the recoil.
When using it, they must aim to kill their opponent within one minute.
“─ Water Shimmer Style · Sword Draw!”
Exorcist Sword Rogurea sparkled and cut the approaching Silver Brilliance in half.
Even Weiss widened her eyes and let out a breath of admiration.
“Huh… that was surprising. Did you have a Gift? (His total amount of magical power increased insanely. For a simple strengthening Gift… the increase is too large. So, a conditional-type strengthening?)”
“Well, what do you think?”
Rayos, who could not waste even a zero-tenth of a second, raised the output of <Float> to the maximum and closed in on Weiss.
The Exorcist Sword drew multiple arcs,
A dull pain ran through Weiss’s body.
She was currently unable to keep up with Rayos’ ultra-high speed movement and was forced to fight completely on the defensive.
(Damn it… how humiliating…)
She used the magic power she had been using for Silver Brilliance to harden her skin and managed to block it at the very last moment… but she couldn’t tell how long that would last.
His eyes were bloodshot, his muscles were torn, and he felt terrible pain all over his body. In the midst of it all… Rayos swung his sword relentlessly, scraping off the enemy’s hard skin.
“Y-you… get away from me!”
Weiss couldn’t help but wave her hands around recklessly, emitting a diffuse silver glow just like before.
But ─ Rayos wouldn’t stop.
“Water Shimmer Style · Vortex Split!”
While his hands and feet were burnt by Silver Brilliance, he launched an even more brutal attack.
(Th-this guy… is he crazy!?)
A slight fear rose in Weiss’ heart.
A mind affected by fear gets confused between ‘defend’ and ‘avoid’ ─ causing a fatal delay.
“Water Shimmer Style · Twin Rising Flash!”
Two sparkling slashes shot through the air, and Weiss’ arms flew through the air as she cried.
“You… fucking brat…”
Spread out before his eyes was a space straight to his foe, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
(I crushed the eyeballs on both arms, Silver Brilliance’s firing outlet! She can’t counterattack!)
Realizing that it was time to end it, Rayos poured all his magical power into the exorcist sword.
“This is the end! Water Shimmer Style Secret Technique ─”
Just as he was about to deliver the final blow, a flower of malice bloomed.
“─ Well that’s a shame!”
When Weiss opened her mouth, there was a jet black eyeball that was Silver Brilliance’s firing port.
“What!? (A hidden eye. It’s impossible to dodge… my Gift will soon run out. I must finish her off with this one blow…!)”
“Thank you for all your wasted effort!”
Weiss’ face distorts into something ugly, and the world… was dyed in pure white.
Rayos, who was hit by the super-high firepower of Silver Brilliance, slammed his back against the clock tower far behind and was buried in the outer wall.
“Huu… what a waste of energy. The Gift [Limit Break] that gives power that far exceeds the specs of the body for an extremely short period of time, or something like that? Even for a small fry, he was quite strong. That’s why the power of Gifts is terrifying after all.’’
Saying that, Weiss cast medium-rank recovery magic ─ her lost arms instantly grew back, and her physical strength was completely restored at once.
(She can even use recovery magic…)
Rayos sank into despair.
The damage he had risked his life to inflict was healed in an instant.
(This monster, how many cards does she have in her hand…)
The eye in her mouth and medium-rank recovery magic ─ perhaps she had other trump cards hidden as well.
There was a huge difference in power between Rayos and Weiss that couldn’t be bridged even with the use of Gifts.
“Hehe, the Saint who became a dead spirit will also be happy, won’t she? Another hated human dies!”
Weiss aimed her right hand at the outer wall with Rayos buried in it with Silver Brilliance, which contained a huge amount of magical power.
He desperately tried to move as the attack approached, but he remained motionless.
Because of the side effects of Gift [Limit Break], he couldn’t move his body.
(I… is this my end…)
Literally the limit.
That was the current Rayos Reinhardt’s limit.
Faced with the inevitable death, he slowly closed his eyes ─ and lamented his helplessness.
He swung his sword more than anyone else.
He trained his body more than anyone else.
He was harder on himself than anyone else.
On rainy days, sunny days, and thunderstorm days, while others were playing or resting, lazing or indulging, he continued to train hard.
Everything was ─ for the sake of his beloved Saint.
However, all that effort amounted to nothing.
All the efforts he had made were completely meaningless in front of the ‘real monster’ that was Weiss Baderhorn.
A single tear fell from Rayos’ eyes.
(…Saint-sama, I am sorry…)
The next moment ─ a silver flower bloomed, and an incredible explosion occurred.
“Aha, the Gift [Limit Break], right? Hey, hey, if you can surpass it, try to surpass it! The limit of ‘death’…!”
While Weiss’ mockery echoed, a gentle scent like the sun flowed through him.
In his flickering vision, what Rayos caught was plate armor so huge that he had to look up.
“─ Stranger Holy Knight, that was a splendid battle.”
Standing there, covered entirely with plate armor, was a mysterious adventurer.