699 – A Certain Girl and the Direction of the Holy City (side: Miria)
The majority of people who had gathered at the palace for shelter are congregating around the giant hole opened up in the wall from the [Ruin] blast wave.
In truth, I believe it would probably be better to take as much distance from the hole as possible and retreat further inside the palace for the sake of safety. This palace has underground floors which seem more resistant to monster attacks than the above ground floors. In fact, a decent number of evacuees are still hiding underground, as in the worst case they may be able to weather a stray [Ruin] shot that hits the palace.
However, at any rate, the Holy City’s… no, maybe the fate of the world is being decided in the skies above, with the battle unfolding between the Saint of legend and Dragon of Revelation.
Perhaps the outcome of the battle will decide whether or not the world is destroyed. With that in mind, everyone here doesn’t have the inclination to merely wait for time to pass safely inside the inner sanctum of the palace. The same can be said of me.
However, nobody here knows which of them to support. They are torn between the legendary Saint Jornes who clearly transformed into a bizarre monster, and the Dragon of Revelation who appeared to protect us before. Each and every person here is watching the battle intently.
Although Jornes seemed to have been on the backfoot for a moment, she transformed into a dragon resembling the Apocalypse, and is overwhelming Irushia-san with her newfound mobility. She’s done an about-face from throwing magic attacks and focusing on defence, and has switched to pursuing Irushia-san instead. Suddenly forced to be on the defensive, Irushia-san seems to be trying his hardest to survive.
“Oh! Look, Jornes-sama is overpowering it!”
Priest Dogon says while gazing at the sky.
“Priest Dogon, such things… You’re still…!”
I unintentionally point my staff towards him.
I had thought he had changed his mindset after Treant-san saved his life. Everyone else, having no grasp of the situation at all and not knowing who to support, is keeping silent and watching things unfold. After all, I wanted to support Irushia-san openly, but held my tongue out of consideration for the rest.
“I-I’m a disciple of the Holy God religion! What can I believe in if not the Saint?! It’s not true that I’ve relaxed my guard around that wooden demon, either! I’ve merely come to realise that resisting is useless, so I will provoke it no more!”
“Miria, it looks like it’d be better to place this person in the dungeon after all. From the beginning, it’s strange that someone plotting a riot would be free to move as he is now.”
Even Meltia-san is glaring at Priest Dogon with a murderous expression.
Treant-san, who called himself the subordinate of the Apocalypse, is still present here. It’d be fine if he were to harbour support for Jornes in his heart, but what was he planning to do if Treant-san got offended? Since he believes in Jornes even now, I want him to explain exactly why she had been slaughtering everyone.
『It is fine, you don’t have to worry about me. I’m sure this is distressing for everyone. Please don’t get into a scuffle over such a thing.』
Treant-san says, watching over his master by himself. An awkward expression surfaces on Priest Dogon’s face.
“…Irushia-san is a cherished being to you, isn’t he? Treant-san, aren’t you frustrated? Even though you defended everyone with your own body earlier, too… To think that someone can say something so foolish while Irushia-san is fighting with his life on the line…”
『Of course, it’s not that I don’t have any opinions on that, but Master-dono would surely say something similar himself.』
Treant-san says with certainty.
Priest Dogon spends a long moment staring at Treant-san’s back, as if dumbfounded. With him in such a state, Radda-san pats him on his shoulder.
“Dogon-sama, I understand how you feel, not knowing what to believe and with everything not making any sense. Just how many times have I had my beliefs crushed within these few days here… It’s already pointless to fret about what to do and what to believe. Even so, since things have gotten to this extent, let’s trust in what is happening in front of our eyes.”
“In what is happening in front of our eyes… you say?”
Ever since Jornes has acquired the Apocalypse’s form, the battle has been continuously one-sided. Irushia-san bears her attacks head-on, is caught up to in an instant whenever he tries to break away, and is assaulted by large-scale magic the likes of which I’ve never seen… This scene is just hard to watch.
However, even so, Irushia-san shows no signs of giving up, and continues holding out while gritting his teeth. There’s no way that he would make such a face if he were simply an evil dragon planning on causing the world harm.
Even Priest Dogon would surely understand if he looked at the situation impartially. Jornes who spread a barrier over the holy land and brought about disaster, and the Apocalypse that is fighting against her. However, Priest Dogon is terrified of the complete breakdown of everything that he’s believed in until now. That’s why he’s clutching to that final lifeline of his beliefs as much as he can.
In the skies above, even though Irushia-san has been covered in his own blood from receiving Jornes’ one-sided assault, he’s resisting her with all his might. Seized by the distorted space that Jornes cast, Irushia-san’s body is viciously gouged by her claws.
“Ha-… Hang in there, Apocalypse!”
One of the disciples shouts. Priest Dogon looks backward at him with a petulant expression.
“T-that’s right! Please stop Jornes-sama from laying waste to the holy land!”
“That thing is already no longer Jornes-sama!”
As if there was nothing holding them back any longer, all of the disciples cheer with loud voices for the dragon in the air.
Priest Dogon glares at them silently, but then his expression softens, and he heaves a big sigh. He looks up, the mania seemingly fading from his eyes as he watches the battle in the sky.
It isn’t long before the battle begins to reach its conclusion. After an ever-intensifying battle of magic, they come to blows. It’s clear to everyone that both of them are approaching their limits.
Finally, Jornes returns to her bizarre statue form. The enormous wheel on her back begins spinning, and a sinister air falls upon the city. It seems like she’s planning something.
Whatever it is, it’s undoubtedly a calamity incomparable to anything we’ve seen so far. It’s clear that this is her final trump card, meant to take Irushia-san down once and for all.
Irushia-san stares her down directly. He produces a gigantic sword in his hand, moves in, and cuts through Jornes.
Cracks open up all over Jornes’ body. The mirror shatters, the wheel falls apart, and finally, her head crumbles apart. All of it breaks down further as it falls, turning into motes of disappearing light, as if the sinister monster was nothing but a dream. Jornes’ barrier covering the city starts to fade away.
“Irushia-san won… He won!”
A loud cheer rises from a corner in the capital that had been turned into a ruin.