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456 – Returning Alive

 

The flies that survived Aro’s [Gale] fly towards me again. A figure jumps down from behind her and cuts deeply into the neck of one of the flies. The fly slams into the ground shoulder-first and tumbles, spraying body fluids, then stops moving.

 

“…Not a bad cutting edge. Though it’s still several steps down from my beloved Leral.”

 

The half-naked man swinging the sword is Volk. Looking at the sword in his hand, I see that it is magiatite-jii.

 

Volk… I thought you were caught by the Holy Knights…

 

As if that slow lot could catch me. I played along for a bit so that my wounds from fighting the Demon Lord’s underlings would heal. They got a little angry at my attitude though, so it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to return to civilisation for a while.

 

I-I see… So you met up with Aro and the others and came back here.

 

Aro also jumps down in front of me and glares at the remaining flies. A fly that looks like it was about to flee jolts to a stop midair and flails. From a nearby tree, the nightmare appears and opens her mouth wide to bite into the fly’s abdomen.

 

It seems the remaining flies don’t plan on fleeing. They surround me swoop down, each coming from a different direction. But, Aro and Volk intercept them one by one, and soon they’re all wiped out.

 

Kishii…”

 

The black lizard restlessly looks around. Don’t worry, they’re my friends. We’re saved. We got away.

 

From above a small cliff where Aro stood, the treant slowly pokes its trunk out. It didn’t really do anything, but… Seeing the treant acting like normal makes me feel a little relieved.

 

I flop down on the spot. Too much has happened in quick succession. It’s nothing but a miracle that my HP and MP has lasted this long.

 

It’s the first time I’ve been so hard pressed since reincarnating in this world… And it’s also the first time I’ve felt so wretched.

 

Once the fighting stops, Aro comes up next to me.

 

Dragon-god-sama! I’ve cleaned up those monsters… Dragon-god…sama?”

 

Aro opens her eyes wide and stares at me. To be exact, she’s staring at the open space in front of the neck next to me. Blood is still seeping out of the cut section, and the bone is exposed.

 

Perhaps because I forcefully changed the shape of my humanised form I kept up the transformation until I ran out of magic power, I still had a crushed appearance after releasing the [Humansation Technique]. My body quickly returned to its normal shape, but As Aro had been focused on fighting, she hadn’t noticed that my partner was missing.

 

It’s hard. In particular, for the nightmare… Telling them what has happened is hard. It’s almost enough for me to wish I had run out of strength on the way back so I wouldn’t have to tell them. Of course, that’s an inexcusable wish. She sacrificed herself to save me.

 

Now that the crisis has passed and I have the opportunity to think, I can’t help but notice the irregular lightness of my body. The awareness of the fact that my partner is dead, which had faded during the fierce battle, is thrust in front of me afresh. Tears fall from my eyes.

 

I lower my head to the ground.

 

My partner, she died to protect me.

 

Aro and the treant stand stock still upon receiving my [Telepathy]. The nightmare also stops moving and stares at me.

 

I see…”

 

Volk mumbles, his eyes downcast.

 

The nightmare climbs down from her tree and crawls towards me.

 

She had always been more attached to my partner than to me. She probably doesn’t think very highly of me for having come back by myself. I understand her feeling of wanting to say something. I’ll accept whatever it is she says.

 

The nightmare’s front leg softly strokes my head.

 

The nightmare must also be suffering. But, it doesn’t look like she intends to blame me. It’s probably because she understands my feelings too.

 

After a few moments of silence, Volk opens his mouth.

 

“…Ouroboros, what is your plan now? It looks like the Saint wants to kill you no matter what. She might come in pursuit soon.”

 

I…have to run. I don’t know the range at which she can control her captured monsters, so I can’t say anything for certain, but… If she sets Beelzebub loose on us here, to be honest, I have no chance of winning.

 

I was asking more about you’re plan after that.”

 

After that, huh. No matter where I run, the Saint will probably chase me.

 

I had been thinking that, even after being betrayed, I wanted to try reconciling if it was possible.

 

When Lilixira began her attack on me after I defeated the slime, I hated her from the bottom of my heart. But, after a little time had passed… I began to think that perhaps she had felt like she had no choice but to try and kill me. Or perhaps I wanted to believe that.

 

As one who possesses a divine skill and can control the strongest-class monster that is Beelzebub, it would be no exaggeration to call Lilixira the representative of humankind. I had thought that she might have felt compelled to act in case the day I would bare my fangs at humans would come. I thought she might have feared the prospect that I would evolve and lose my sense of self to become a monstrosity like the ruin and that my immense power would become pointed humans for some reason, or that I would become the next Demon Lord after becoming frustrated with how people treat me.

 

And I had naively thought that, after seeing me risk my life to lead the ruin away from the capital, she might have reconsidered.

 

But… I soon realised I was mistaken. Lilixira set Beelzebub on me. And, even considering Beelzebub’s speed, he caught up with me far too quickly. It’s hard to imagine that Lilixira hesitated at all. As soon as she understood the situation, she unhesitatingly took out her trump card and sent Beelzebub after me.

 

I’ll make a base and prepare. Once I evolve, I should be able to deal with Beelzebub easily. And then… I’ll turn the tables on Lilixira.

 

I don’t want to lose any more of my companions. For that purpose, I’ll fight Lilixira. I’ll fight God’s Voice. It doesn’t matter that Lilixira is the strongest human, Beelzebub is the strongest monster, or that God’s Voice is an unknowable figure. I’ll stand above them all and defeat them.

 




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