Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou (WN) Chapter 264
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Arifureta After II A World That is Relatively Finished
It was a place of large spring, surrounded by forest of trees. There was no sound that could be heard other than the rustling leaves.
It was Kouki’s question that brought the silence. In front of Kouki who was crawling on all fours at the edge of the spring while coughing, there was queen Moana making a bewildered expression.
Suddenly the sanity of the existence that they greatly respected and loved was being questioned. The question was an extremely impolite one that normally it wouldn’t be strange if they snapped toward the one who asked.
In fact, the atmosphere of the people standing around the queen――six men and women with warrior appearance, and two man and woman who didn’t seem like warrior but looked used with fighting. And one woman whose clothing was different with the others, her attire somehow gave the impression that she was a lady attendant――was turning into one that couldn’t be said to be pleasant.
Although, not even one of them tried to reproach Kouki’s impolite statement, they didn’t look like “fanatic”. Was that because of healthy religious faith, or else was it because they were holding back because they were in front of the queen, the reason wasn’t clear.
Kouki felt the atmosphere of the surrounding and saw the bewildered expression of Moana whose hand was still presented at him, and realized that his question was crude before he apologized in panic.
「I, I’m sorry, saying that so suddenly. I am a bit traumatized with an existence that is like a god……」
「Tra, trauma of god? Or rather, you had met that kind of existence before?」
The words of Kouki who was once involved with a supernatural existence that was called god caused Moana and her people to make expression of being struck with admiration. Was the young man before their eyes an existence so great that was also chosen by another great existence different from Foltina, they wondered.
But, Kouki’s next words turned them speechless.
「……Yes. Though, it was when he was in a state of possessing an acquaintance. He thought nothing of human except as his pawn in a game, caused many wars, brainwashed people, and when he got bored he sent in his apostles to massacre mankind, that kind of god.」
「That’s, not god. That’s absolutely an evil something else right?」
A magnificent tsukkomi from the queen. Her way of talking changed. By any chance, that might be her unadorned way of talking.
Kouki smiled wryly while saying 「Perhaps」 and he took Moana’s hand.
「Eerr. Let’s see, Foltina, sama? I think you said that person was the one who summoned me but, I completely don’t know anything……. But first thing first, I only wish to confirm ahead just one thing, can I return to my original place?」
From the hand of Kouki who returned a firm grip in his handshake, Moana felt the strength of someone who was similarly a fighter like her and she coughed once. She recovered her disordered mind and way of talking.
After that she lowered her eyebrows looking a bit troubled and,
「I’m sorry. But honestly, we too are currently also baffled. We have never heard the voice of Foltina-sama that clearly before, and someone like you who visit from a different world, it is like a fairy tale.」
「In other words……」
「Yes. It’s just as you though, if the “original place” that you said us really in another world, then we don’t have the method of how to return you back there. Or rather, you really came from another world huh?」
「Eerr, I think that’s the case but……」
As a test, Kouki tried mentioning the name of the kingdom and empire but Moana and others gave no reaction. Perhaps this place was an unknown continent that was also in Tortus……such possibility couldn’t be denied, but seeing that Moana and her people had no power of summoning, in the end he had no other method except making contact with this Foltina-sama, or searching for a method to go home by his own strength.
(Or perhaps, will that guy come here to pick me up? It feels like he might show up all of sudden with troublesome face after Shizuku and others begged him.)
Thinking of “that guy” that floated at the back of his mind――Hajime, caused Kouki to smiled wryly. If it was him who possessed both the method to cross over worlds and the method to find Kouki, then it wasn’t something impossible.
Moana and her people made a worried expression seeing Kouki’s state, they wondered whether he was cornered from feeling shock into a condition where he could do nothing but laughing.
Seeing the good character of Moana and others that somehow could be seen through from them, Kouki felt a bit relieved while smiling to show that he was fine.
「I’m sorry. Come to think of it, I haven’t introduced myself. I am called Amanogawa Kouki. ――Just a mere swordsman.」
Moana and her people made a bewildered expression once again, wondering why he didn’t introduce himself as the hero. But, before that bewilderment could turn into spoken out question, Kouki stood up and continued his words.
「If this is another world, a place that doesn’t know about my former world, and I cannot go home, then that can’t be helped. Can I ask you to please teach me about various things. Including the reason why I was called here, your majesty the queen?」
「Ye, yeah. That’s right. It looks like you were really suddenly tossed into the spring, we will give you explanation as much as we can. Also, you also don’t need to worry about any basic necessities. Even like this, I am a queen after all. There won’t be a problem with just providing for a single guest.」
Moana pulled herself together and said that while winking at him with playfulness. The atmosphere of that place softened slightly and the people who seemed to be her attendant also smiled slightly.
「And also, I don’t mind if you call me Moana. You are a guest that Foltina-sama entrusted to us. It should be fine if you think of your status as higher than me. That’s why, it’s fine to not humble yourself like that.」
「Aa~, perhaps so. But there is also the matter about me being outsider so……, please let me call you Moana-sama. As for my language……for the moment, please let me keep using polite language as it is.」
「Mu, I see……」
Moana’s shoulders dropped in a bit of disappointment. The expression of Moana’s followers looked like they had headache right after Moana said to him to not act humbly, but their expression turned grateful when they heard Kouki’s reply. Seeing that, Kouki felt relieved that his response wasn’t mistaken.
It appeared that this queen had a really unconventional character, as could be seen from how she was so used to battlefield to the degree that she had scars on her body.
「Then, I’ll have you let me call you Kouki. That will be fine I believe?」
「Yes, of course.」
「Right. Well then Kouki. There is a bit of problem with the safety of this area, if possible I want us to be on the move quickly. If we hurry we should be able to arrive at the capital before the sun set.」
Kouki nodded showing that he had no objection, to which Moana also nodded back 「Great」. And then, she moved her gaze at the woman in attendant attire beside her.
「Anneal. We cannot keep being like a drowned rat like this all the time. Please.」
「Yes, your majesty. ……I pray. For the grace of the sun and the wind――”Wind of Embrace”」
The woman who was called Anneal looked to be in her middle twenty from her appearance, a woman with slightly calm atmosphere. Her eyes were droopy, and when she replied her voice was also soft, which spurred such impression even more.
Different from the other followers, she wasn’t carrying anything that looked like weapon, in exchange she was carrying a large satchel on her back and several bags that looked like shawl.
Whether it was Moana or her followers, they all were basically wearing pants and protectors above their clothes with white undertone. But it was only Anneal who was wearing something like an apron in the place of protector. That was the reason Kouki got the impression that she was like a lady attendant.
When that Anneal whispered in a faint voice, right away a part of the pattern on the back of her right hand shined faintly.
Kouki looked down on his body with a slight surprise. His clothes was swaying from receiving gentle warm wind. From the sensation of wind his skin felt, it seemed a warm wind was whirling with his body as the center. The same thing also happened with Moana and the followers that entered the water just now.
「Fumu, it seems it will also be necessary to explain about blessing art too. She is praying, or perhaps offering her wish to the power that dwell in nature――the blessing power, to have that power shared with her.」
Power was dwelling in all living things and the whole nature. Moana and others called that power as blessing power, and the technique that made use of that power by praying or vowing was named as blessing art.
The painting on their body was something that represented their prayer and vow as letters which made it possible to shorten the invocation procedure.
As for Fortina, she was thought to be the aggregation of those powers of nature, an existence that possessed will. Sometimes, there appeared people who felt “the will of the great blessing” like in the fairy tale, or heard her words.
By no means that existence could be confirmed clearly, people vaguely thought that such existence existed.
In the teaching since the ancient time, the sense of values of living while feeling gratitude to not just Foltina, but to the whole nature was planted into the people.
Therefore, rather than calling the people’s feeling toward Foltina as religious faith, it should instead be called as ecological sense of values to treasure the nature.
Kouki listened to such story during the time of waiting until their clothes dried up.
(I see. Rather than faith, they are offering respect……or perhaps gratitude, something like that……)
Like that, his conviction that Moana and her people weren’t fanatic was getting stronger inside Kouki. Although, Kouki still hadn’t let go of his wariness toward Moana and others. His polite language and title of honor toward Moana displayed that.
When their clothes dried up completely, the explanation about blessing was also mostly over and Moana raised her voice.
「Now then, let’s depart. We will keep talking about what we should teach to Kouki in the way. Spenser, I’ll leave the vanguard post to you.」
「Understood, your majesty.」
The aging warrior that pulled up Kouki from the spring before this seemed to be called Spenser. He was the eldest among all the people here, his short black hair without any grey hair gave a youthful impression. Although, his body that was obviously trained even through his equipments and the glimpses of sharpness of a fighter deep in his eyes gave a weight that this person couldn’t be underestimated by any means.
When Kouki asked, perhaps it should be said that it was just as expected, it seemed that other than Anneal, all of the people here should be called as the most elite warriors of Synclea kingdom, they were the royal guard of Moana. And Spenser was the leader of the royal guard force.
Following Spenser’s lead, they advanced through the thick forest. The temperature and humidity also didn’t feel unpleasant, the pillars of light created from the light through the gaps between leaves were beautiful. Kouki narrowed his eyes pleasantly thinking ‘What a verdant world’.
Kouki talked toward Moana while they were advancing with the soldiers surrounding Kouki and Moana at the center.
「The nature is really abundant here. The spring before this too, even though it was quite deep, but the water ws really clear until the bottom. This is also thanks to Foltina-sama, no, to the blessing power that filled this world, right.」
For some reason Moana’s expression turned complicated. Inside his heart Kouki felt uneasy thinking if he had said something wrong while his gaze was looking around. There, he saw everyone including Spenser and Anneal were also making a complicated expression.
Kouki wracked his mind even harder to spot what he had said wrong. Moana showed a wry smile to such Kouki.
「No, forgive me. Kouki hasn’t said anything wrong. It’s just, I was thinking to explain it after this but……place abundant with nature like this, only numbered a little.」
Kouki was perplexed. Moana’s bitter smile deepened while she explained further.
「Outside this forest, there is a desert continuing as far as the eye can see. This place is special.」
「Yes. the blessing power is being stolen from the world. Because of those
「We don’t understand what are they, and from where they came. But, let’s see, if we are asked ‘what is your history?’, then we ought to answer “fighting the Dark People”. That is just how long we have been fighting them since far in the past.」
It felt like inside the eyes of Moana who was having a distant look, there was deep and heavy something that couldn’t be described with words dwelling inside. Kouki only stayed silent without saying anything, merely listening to what she said.
「A lot of nature lost blessing power. Because those Dark People are making blessing power their food, they are acting prudently from exploiting the nature compared to in the past. Because if blessing power disappear from the whole world, they too won’t be able to keep living. However, they have a method so that they have no problem even while refraining from exploiting nature.」
They were raising human like livestock. The blessing power a single human possessed was in a different league compared to a single tree or a single animal. Therefore, the
Thanks to blessing power, the growth of plants and animals in this world was quick, and strong. But, even so the Black People’s appetite was above that. Also, a lot of blessing power was consumed, or perhaps eaten in battle. If blessing power was lost to the degree that there was no prospect of recovery, nothing would remain in that place. The place would only become a world of sand.
The supply and demand weren’t balanced, regulating their eating so that the blessing power wouldn’t dry up meant that they would always be unable to obtain the feeling of full stomach.
That was why, so that it wouldn’t be a problem even if the animal and plants were eaten until they ran out, the Black People raised human as livestock.
「This is a battle where our survival and dignity are on the line. Our great ancestors created means to oppose the miasma, diligently studied the blessing art, and like that life continue until it come to our time. ……But, perhaps that too has reached the limit already.」
Moana’s vast gaze caught Kouki. The thing dwelling inside those eyes that reflected himself――Kouki gulped when he saw that.
「This world, the great mother nature, Foltina-sama is――that’s why, they summoned you correct?」
Things like hope, didn’t exist there. There was also no expectation. What was inside those eyes, was mortification, and then disappointment toward herself.
The personification of blessing power that should even be called as the will of the world――Foltina had made her judgment. That it was impossible to resist with just the human of this world. That was how much this world had been cornered.
The fact was, there was no other country around Synclea kingdom. There were only feudal lords in each territory, where they all answered to the kingdom. Countries that once called themselves as empire, federation, holy country, and so on, all of them were perished. Across several mountains, or at the continent across the sea, there were other countries that were still resisting, but it was unclear how long they would be able to keep at it.
‘All of you is no good already’, it couldn’t be helped even if the world thought so about them……
Even though there wasn’t any shadow on Moana’s expression, but those eyes told of Moana’s feeling more eloquently than anything else. In Kouki’s eyes, it looked as though the queen before his eyes was smiling while crying.
――It’s fine. I swear I’ll save this world!
If, he said such thing without thinking of anything, surely Moana with her personality would laugh livelily while also saying 「That’s really reliable!」 to him. While the inside of her eyes was looking like she was going to cry just like now, while feeling disappointed at herself, while getting hurt.
Kouki was glad that he didn’t say anything like that. But, however, then, what should he say instead?
It’s still not over yet? There should be something that you can do?
Foltina-sama isn’t disappointed or anything at you?
It’s just a coincidence that I was summoned you know?
He didn’t understand.
Kouki didn’t understand, what was the correct thing to say.
Kouki couldn’t bear to look at Moana’s eyes by more than this and he averted his gaze. Moana too also moved her gaze to the front as though there was nothing and she was going to continue her story about the
But, at that moment Kouki lifted his face in surprise and he stopped walking.
「Hm? Kouki, what’s the matter? Is your condition――」
「……Err, there are a lot of presences that way. They are heading this way with really fast speed but, what is the possibility that they are your comrades?」
「-. Everyone, prepare to fight! At nine o’clock!」
Moana ignored Kouki’s question and immediately raised her voice. Everyone, without a single exception and without even a moment of delay rearranged their formation to face toward the indicated direction. There was no hesitation and also no one asking for confirmation.
That movement that was without the slightest disarray was just like the group behavior that birds showed. Moana’s instruction was also extremely fast, but even more than that, the proficiency of the most elite royal guard unit was also enough of a show.
「Kouki! Do you know their number and distance?」
「-, Yes! Their number is……16. Their distance is 80 meter――ten seconds until the contact! I believe they are large four-legged animals!」
For a moment Kouki thought whether they would understand when he spoke about the distance using the unit of meter, and so he restated it as the time until the contact with enemy.
Moana’s eyes opened wide. Based from the information that Kouki brought to her, she had an idea of the existence that they could possibly encountered in this area.
But, what she was surprised about wasn’t because that existence was approaching. She was shocked at the width of Kouki’s detection range based that she deduced from that existence’s moving speed and the time until the contact with enemy that Kouki estimated.
Although, her surprise only lasted for an instant.
「You all hear that! Assume it’s the black wolf species! They will come to tear down our formation in their first attack! Neisan, Lilin, take the wind out of their sail!」
Spenser and others, the six soldiers unsheathed their sword. Their swords were single-edged sword with large curvature that looked like shamshir. The width of the sword was wide, and if seeing just from there then they could be categorized as large sword.
The man around his thirty who was called Neisan, and the woman her late teen who was called as Lilin, the two of them held their hands together in prayer behind the six soldiers. They must be art user that specialized as rear guard. Each time the prayer of the two was released to the world, a part of the patterns visible on their cheeks and nape was shining.
The monster of this unknown world finally came. Kouki was nervous and getting cold sweat while also drawing out the holy sword that was dangling from his waist. The holy sword that shined from reflecting the sunlight filtering through trees was so magnificent that everyone spontaneously wanted to let out a sigh of admiration.
Unconsciously Moana and Anneal took a second look.
It was right after that,
Violent killing intent and black miasma rapidly approached from inside the forest like a squall.
Prayers of the casters reached the hearing at the same time. The pattern painted on Neisan’s cheek until his nape shined, and at the front the earth protruded out matching the activation of that hieroglyph-like pattern. It was just like a wall of stone. The wall of stone had thickness of thirty centimeter, with width and height of two meter.
*zushin-*, the sound of something crashing on the stone wall rang out in succession.
Instantly, the pattern stretching from Lilin’s shoulder until her neck also shined, and blowing down wind that should be called as super localized downburst struck at the other side of the stone wall.
*gusha-* Graphic sound and small voices of death agony leaked out from the other side.
Neisan’s voice echoed even more.
「I pray. Seeking for the crumbling earth, smash apart――
The stone wall was pulverized by itself and then its fragments shot out to the front like a directed explosive.
Black smoke was bursting in one after another――no, those were black wolves clad in that black smoke with body length of a meter, several of them were turning a somersault altogether.
Seeing that, two of the vanguard soldiers rushed out.
「「I pray! This body is a sword――
That was a blessing art that raised physical ability. It wasn’t just a prayer, but a vow taken toward themselves, by doing that they were strengthened by the blessing power inside their body.
The first step of the two soldiers dented the ground. With that force they slaughtered with one slash two black wolves that only just stood up again somehow from the impact of the pebbles.
Aiming at the two soldiers that stuck out from the formation, more black wolves approached them, but Lilin’s wind obstructed those wolves. When the black wolves regained their balance, the two soldiers retreated to the formation with brilliant speed.
The black wolves growled in irritation. As though to display their annoyance, they spewed out black smoke――miasma with even more thickness.
Right away, the surrounding vegetations wilted as though they lost their vitality, they dried up completely.
「Don’t break formation. Keep up what are you doing.」
The captain of the royal guard Spenser narrowed his eyes like a hawk and when he spoke to make confirmation just in case, everyone else nodded firmly without any agitation.
(……Their appearance is monster just as I thought. Is the difference between the two is that one emitted miasma and the other isn’t? These wolves resembled the four-eyed wolf but, I don’t feel as much pressure from these wolves. I can also follow their movement enough. What’s left, whether they have skill like characteristic magic or not.)
Kouki calmly analyzed the battle strength of the black wolf species. Seeing that calm attitude, Moana secretly sighed in relieve.
From the sensation of Kouki’s hand, his sensing ability just now, and the minimum accurate information they shared before this, she assumed that Kouki possessed a lot of battle experience, but even so she was worried that he would panic when the time came that they faced the
But, at that time, a huge shadow appeared slowly behind the black wolves surrounding them.
『Hou, so it’s as I thought that the information that the queen went out of her country is true……』
It felt like the air shook slightly. Clad in a miasma with thickness that was clearly different from the surrounding black wolves, it was a black wolf with a body built that must be more than two meter. That wolf was talking with a voice that sounded like it directly resonated inside the head.
Kouki leaked out an astonished voice. His eyes opened wide.
On the other hand, Moana and her people didn’t look surprised, they were glaring at the large black wolf with an expression as though they had bitten something sour. It seemed that it was something normal that the black wolf possessed intelligence and speech.
While Kouki was confused, Moana raised the corner of her mouth and replied back with a fearless expression.
「We also scattered fake information so that we wouldn’t get found out, and we planned to move quickly with only the minimum number though. It seems your side have an excellent observer. But, are you seriously thinking you will be able to kill us just with this number?」
『I’ll take my chance. There is no way I’ll hand over the achievement of taking the head of the queen to the other pack. I’ll present your head to the king, and lift my name, Niebla!』
*UOOOOOOOOON* A howl that was even accompanied by physical shockwave burst. The black wolf that introduced itself as Niebla gushed out dreadful black miasma along with undulation of power that transmitted electrifying sensation to the skin.
The vegetations at the surrounding that were instantly enveloped by black miasma withered up one after another.
Naturally, that miasma also enveloped Kouki and others. Moana immediately snuggled close to Kouki that their skin touched. It wasn’t because she was scared. It was to protect Kouki’s body.
If the miasma came in contact with the blessing power of all living things――that was to say their life, Moana and others wouldn’t come out unscathed. But, their state didn’t look like they were enduring anything like that.
「Everyone, pay attention to the remaining capacity of the miasma stone! Lilin, scatter away the miasma while concentrate attacking Niebla!」
Moana’s instruction was given. Moana’s hand reached out toward her chest seemingly unconsciously. There was a colorless and transparent cylinder shaped gem about five, six centimeter long attached there. That gem――miasma stone was faintly muddy black.
「Kouki, sorry. I should have handed this to you first. Put this miasma stone on your body. It will protect us from the miasma.」
It seemed miasma stone was something like how there was magic stone inside monster, it was an organ inside the body of
Moana wrapped a miasma stone pendant around Kouki’s wrist. At the same time the black wolves led by Niebla attacked simultaneously.
Niebla too, he couldn’t join the cooperation attack because of Lilin holding him back and could only run around outside the formation in the attempt to perturb the soldiers.
Using that chance, Neisan’s blessing art was decreasing the number of the black wolves by one, and then one more, it was only little by little, but it was continuing steadily.
『Chih. You are doing well with these number. As expected from the elite unit of the queen-』
Niebla whispered with a voice filled with bitterness.
Right after that, Niebla resolved himself and howled, he charged forward without stopping even while the wind blades that Lilin released carved his body and caused blood to spray out.
「He is coming! Push him back and then kill him!」
『Don’t underestimate me-』
Spenser gave his instruction, at the same time Niebla’s howl surged out. Right after that, miasma gushed out explosively from the ground below two warriors who were facing Niebla.
The soldiers――Dario and Febri raised scream of shock and got blown away. Because Dario was considerable young even among the elite guard, unlike the veteran Fedri, he was unable to defend right away and crashed on the ground some distance away without even being able to apply ukemi.
The hole that was opened from the absent of the two was immediately closed by Spenser. He blocked the brutal claws of Niebla using his sword and he held his ground trying to halt the rush’s momentum.
「Guh, you bastard-」
『You’re in the way-』
Miasma converged beside Niebla and took shape. It was the shape of three huge claws.
The other soldiers had their hand full facing the black wolves. They couldn’t move right away.
「I won’t let you」
It was queen Moana who cut in. She slipped into Niebla’s bosom from really close to the ground as though she was crawling there, and struck her sword at his torso with a stunning slash.
Because Niebla immediately pulled back, the trajectory of the three large claws also shifted slightly. Spenser also wasted no time backing away and he got off with only his protector’s surface torn.
『Chih. As expected, ordinary method won’t work huh.』
Niebla spat that line out and plunged in the miasma claws. Spenser blocked that while Moana stepped toward Niebla.
But, Niebla seemed to also have predicted that movement.
『First, I’ll eat starting from that irritating caster!』
Niebla leaped over Moana’s head and used the miasma claws he created himself as a foothold and leaped further, his sprang toward his objective――Lilin who was accurately slowing him down.
Lilin who was making prayer in order to back up Moana late to react just for a moment against Niebla’s irregular movement. She wasted no time twisting her body while trying to pray for defense, but whatever the case it was impossible to completely dodge the attack.
It would be most satisfactory if she lost only an arm――she resolved herself for that but the next moment,
A light barrier that shined radiantly manifested in front of Lilin’s eyes. Niebla’s claws only raised unpleasant scraping sound *gigigi* and stopped before the light barrier.
Lilin’s shocked voice and Niebla’s surprised exclaim overlapped.
Niebla adroitly turned his body midair in a somersault and his legs stopped in front of the unknown technique. And then, he looked for the person that was the source of this with his atrocious beast eyes running at the surrounding.
It took a moment to specify the culprit.
『You, what the hell was that just now?』
*gururu* Niebla raised a growl that was brimming with killing intent and wariness while asking that.
The person his gaze was directed to was naturally
Moana’s shout that was filled with shock and gratitude because he protected her comrade resounded.
But, her gaze, and then Niebla’s beast eyes that were emitting killing intent were immediately narrowed in dubiousness.
Short and ragged breathing leaked out repeatedly could be heard.
Without any doubt, it was Kouki’s breathing. It wasn’t that he was adjusting his breathing. It even sounded like he was hyperventilating.
It was obvious even from Kouki’s expression that he wasn’t in a normal state.
Yes, it was something that even caused both enemy and ally to feel dubious――
Kouki’s expression was pale, as though he was fearing something.
The tip of the holy sword his hand was holding was shaking a bit, while being pointed on the ground.
It wasn’t――being pointed to Niebla, to the enemy in front of his gaze.
AN: Thank you very much for reading this every time.
Thank you very much too for the thoughts, opinions, and reports about misspelling and omitted words.