676 – A Certain Girl and Divine Punishment (side: Miria)
Black, clearly abnormal rain pelts down. I raise my staff to the sky.
Pouring in as much mana as I can, I produce the largest and thickest shield I’m capable of.
It’s almost two metres wide in diameter. I’ve never once managed to produce a shield this large before when practising.
“This should do it…!”
I drop my staff and reach up to the shield as it falls, holding it like an umbrella. The weight of it almost crushes me, but then Meltia-san steps in to help support it.
“Y-you idiot, Miria! If I didn’t make it in time, you would have been crushed along with that obaa-san!”
“Sorry… But this rain is bad…”
The black rain pours down in sheets. Some droplets splash onto my clothes and face. The tiny volume reaching me is enough to cause my head to pound and my stomach to churn.
I look at the black liquid clinging to my clothes.
Screams of pain erupt from my surroundings. The people directly exposed to the rain gasp painfully, their bodies turning black and shrivelling. They’re already dead.
“What is this…? Why…?”
The rain is pouring down most strongly near the centre of the city, but it’s even reaching the edges. Almost everyone outdoors has probably died already.
The insane power and scale of this magic is completely outside my understanding.
“Miria, we need to get inside! There’s no telling how long your [Clay Shield] will last! I’ll carry it! You take the old woman!”
Carrying the old woman on my back, we hastily enter a nearby building.
I stare up at Jornes from a window. The black rain soon stops, just a few minutes after it start.
Outside, the streets are scattered with shrivelled corpses. This black rain must have killed tens or hundreds of thousands. With that horrifying power, the Holy City is over… No, it’s won’t just be limited to the Holy Country; it’s only a matter of time until the entire world falls to that power.
“Damn it…! If only Saint Lilixira and the Holy Knights were here…!”
Meltia shouts, slamming her fist into the wall.
“Even if the Saint was here, I doubt she could have done anything against that…”
Having seen Jornes’ power, I suspect Saint Lilxira and the Holy Knights would have been powerless to stop her.
“Wh-what are you saying, Miria? The Hero and Saint are born to defeat the king of monsters. There’s no way they could lose to a single human. Besides, the Holy Knight commander Alexio is supposed to be the strongest warrior in the world. He’s even stronger than that Dragon Hunter we saw in Alban! So that fake Jornes should be no problem…!”
Meltia insists, raising her trembling voice.
“That is unmistakably the true Jornes-sama. After thousands of years… She has returned from the Holy God’s side.”
The old woman says, causing Meltia-san to bite her lip in fustration.
“Are you still saying that!? If she was the real Saint, then why would she be doing this!? Look outside, old woman! That almost happened to us!”
“…Travelers, Jornes-sama has left her name in history as the strongest Saint. If that is not her, then who else could possibly do this? It is a terrible act… but it is also proof that she is Jornes-sama.”
The old woman’s face has become pale. It’s not as though she wants to worship that figure floating in the sky. However, having seen such a wide-scale powerful magic, she can’t think of it as anyone else.
Looking outside, I see Jornes clasping her hands together. She’s about to do something again.
“What more could she be doing…?”
A sphere of red light spreads out from her. I try to close the curtains, but I’m too late. As the dazzling red light washes over me, it’s all I can do to cover my eyes.
I open my eyes… Outside has become a scene of hell.
“M-Miria, are you okay?! Did that magic get you…?”
“T-the people outside…”
“Outside? There shouldn’t be any survivors outside. What do you…”
Meltia-san hurriedly approaches the window, becoming speechless upon seeing the horror outside.
The backs of each blackened corpse has split open, as strange monsters emerge from inside. Their appearances are far removed from any monster I know.
Their bodies are white, their surfaces smooth like glass. They’re all largely humanoid, yet markedly different from a human. The divergence varies, with some having crushed-in faces, others having cuboidal heads, bizarrely spindly arms, or six eyes.
In part because of how human-like they are, their existence seems wholly disconnected from reality. They appear artificial, almost as though they’ve stepped out of an abstract painting. Their faces are completely unchanging, as though plastered over by a mask.
“No… Th-this is impossible… A dream…”
My mind can’t keep up with what I’m seeing. I clutch my head and crouch down. Meltia-san stands stock-still, staring outside in a daze.
“Wh-what is this…? Did all the dead bodies outside turn into those monsters?”
That [Nirvana] magic probably turns all the dead humans in range into those monsters. If so, then thousands of them have been created in an instant.