Monster no Goshujin-sama Volume 2 Chapter 34
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Enjoy the chapter~.
TL: Thy Unsus
Chapter 34 – A Mystery Remaining
A sharp blade went through flesh and blood spurted out.
The dull sound of a life being severed echoed lowly in the passage.
While listening to that sound, I was standing stock still, dumbfounded.
I…hadn’t swung my sword downward yet.
A pitch-black sword that had flown from somewhere had pierced Juumonji’s back while he laid face-down on the floor.
The sword, shadow-like in appearance, stole the rest of Juumonji’s life. The unexpected scene froze my thoughts.
Shouting, Silane came out in front of me.
What came attacking then were countless numbers of shadow-like swords.
Silane knocked down the swords that came flying at us one after another.
But, there were too many. Even Silane would be overcome if she had to protect me. I jumped back almost unconsciously, and Silane followed.
Dozens of swords stood in the place we had just been.
But, it didn’t end with just that. The swords chased us even further as we retreated——
“Get back, milord!” (Gerbera)
——Joining us, Lily and Gerbera intercepted them.
The spider thread Gerbera shot like a web from both her hands stopped the shadow-like swords. Lily repelled the few ones she missed with her spear.
As expected, they couldn’t break through. Whether the attacker judged that any more attacks would be useless, or the number of swords they could release at once was limited, the shower-like attack ended.
“What the……” (Majima)
While pacifying my rapidly beating heart, I attempted to confirm the situation.
The passage now had countless numbers of shadow-like swords piercing into it, as if it had become a pincushion.
On the other side, there was a large, shadow-like humanoid that had only its upper body growing out from the floor.
The monster, one I had seen before, was what was called a Doppelgänger in this world.
However, the individual that had appeared in front of me was a little different from what I had seen before.
To summarize, it was huge.
The height of the shadowy figure, which only seemed to form the upper half of itself, easily reached 3 meters. Its figure looked many times bigger than a normal individual due to its massively swelling belly, so wide it looked like it had swallowed a human.
“Master, be careful. Something’s strange about it.” (Lily)
Preparing to use her spear, Lily warned me.
The change happened right after that——the swords, pierced into the passage like a pincushion, rose.
“This is……” (Majima)
The sword-shaped shadows crumbled one after another.
The crumbled shadows mixed together into several shapes, and reconstructed into new shapes.
Before long, the shadows took the form of dozens of Doppelgängers.
In the blink of an eye, the passage had filled to the brim with monsters.
Many monsters were born from one huge monster. ——It was a phenomenon I had never seen before, but fortunately, I had heard about an existence that did this.
“A monster that births monsters……a『Queen Monster』?” (Majima)
A “monster” was a creature that had magical power. And, a monster that accumulated enough magical power would become able to give birth to new existences. We referred to individuals that had such a reproductive ability as “queen monsters”.
The individual in front of us must have been one.
So, everything up to there was fine. It was an amazing phenomenon, but everything up to there was in the category of “knowledge I had”.
But what went against my knowledge…was everything after that.
“Master. This…is really a queen monster, right?” (Lily)
Lily spoke in a cracked voice.
“So then, why is it『not connected to us or the path』?” (Lily)
As one of the transferees, I had the ability to『connect my mind to monsters with high magical power』. To put it in a makeshift classification, the target monsters were rare monsters or higher.
Queen monsters were higher existences. And yet, there was no path constructed between me and the monster in front of me, which should’ve been a『Doppelgänger』. Even in Silane’s unique case, I was able to grab the beginning of connecting the path, but I couldn’t even feel it here.
In other words, the monster in front of me was an existence that deviated from the rules I knew——……
“……What the hell are you?” (Majima)
The words I spoke were rhetorical.
Since the path wasn’t connected, the monster in front of me had no sprouts of ego, even if it was a queen monster. Therefore, there was no way I could get a response.
That should’ve been the case, and yet——
“I never imagined you would directly beat Tatsuya Juumonji.”
——Sure enough, there was a response.
It was a boy’s voice with a fearless impression. When I heard it, I gulped.
Because the voice it returned was none other than『Tatsuya Juumonji’s』.
Of course, it wasn’t the person himself’s. He was already dead.
What was there were elaborate copies of『Tatsuya Juumonji』.
The large crowd of Doppelgängers were copying his appearance all at once.
Although it was in appearance only, their reproductions were so perfect that they couldn’t be differentiated from the real thing. But if there was one big difference, then it would be that there wasn’t anything that could be called an expression on their copied faces of『Tatsuya Juumonji』.
The good and bad, what made him human——it had none of the selfishness that brought forth a great number of sacrifices, the arrogance that made him not reflect on it, nor the complete cool-headedness towards other people.
That alone was more cruel than tearing his facial features with a knife—it damaged the existence known as『Tatsuya Juumonji』.
Lacking that, they were all turning emotionless gazes this way at once.
It was a bizarre sight that destabilized the minds of those they looked at.
“Let’s say ‘Nice job’, Other King.”
The one that opened its mouth was the closest one of the dozens『Tatsuya Juumonjis』. Its voice was cut-and-dried like a machine’s, and couldn’t read what could be called “rough emotion”.
“You let me see that power. You were able to tame that brutal undead monster there.”
That was said by a different one. And then, different ones opened their mouths.
“That big spider there, Gerbera I think you said, is scary, .” “The mimic slime is also unusual.” “It was called ‘Lily’.” “There’s many more as well.” “Ayame, Asarina.” “He said there was one not in the fortress, too.” “Rose, wasn’t it?”
It changed speakers one after another, but one of the many『Tatsuya Juumonjis』spoke the names of my family, including Rose who wasn’t here.
“He seems to do it differently than our King.” “An ominous power.” “He’s plenty enough of a threat even now.” “I’ve always aimed at this guy’s life.”
The one who spoke at the end lifted up the real Juumonji’s corpse in front of the Doppel-Queen, the only one still taking on the appearance of a monster.
There was no time to stop it.
Juumonji’s corpse was taken into the wide-open mouth of the Doppel-Queen.
The huge shadow picture squirmed, and a damp sound that made me want to plug my ears sounded out. It was chewing『what it ate』. Its already-big stomach swelled even more.
And thus, Tatsuya Juumonji was forever erased from this world as food for a monster.
……No. To be exact, all that was left was his appearance.
Furthermore, dozens of copies.
One of them, the『Tatsuya Juumonji』that lifted up Juumonji’s corpse to the Doppel-Queen, turned its head while rubbing its belly.
“Thanks for the meal.”
Lily spoke the question we both had in common.
“The Doppelgänger…has its own will?” (Lily)
A Doppelgänger’s special characteristic as a monster was to copy the appearance of its target.
But, even if they copied humans, they wouldn’t speak. They were monsters—they had no will.
Despite this, the individual in front of me was speaking. That is, it was proof that it had will, whatever form it was.
“……No way.” (Majima)
As I happened to know of only one such existence, I gave a tiny moan.
“The『monster that can talk』that Sakagami said…was this guy?” (Majima)
It was the existence that Sakagami had spoken of after being cornered.
He had said that he was giving instructions to the other monsters through a monster with will. If this was the one, I could understand why my ability did not worked.
I was a cheat holder, but this monster was under the influence of another cheat holder’s inherent ability. The rule hadn’t changed—another rule had interrupted. So, my ability wasn’t able to compete.
On the other hand, considering that it did not appear to be having a big influence on Lily and them, this was probably correct.
“In other words, you’re『Berta』, huh?” (Majima)
The many『Tatsuya Juumonjis』who heard this——all smiled.
This……this was probably a smile. For a moment, I hadn’t realized that that was something that was usually referred to as “a smiling face”.
When a person smiled, there was some emotion in it, even if it was a forced smile. But, those smiles could only be seen as『something』clinging to their skin—you couldn’t feel anything but disgust.
Because they were shaped like humans, their behavior brought a strong out-of-place feeling that a human wouldn’t have.
I felt extremely sick seeing that. I felt nauseous. It felt like I was watching countless amounts of wriggling centipedes. I was completely unable to feel a sense of reality in the scene before my eyes.
My head was already getting a little dizzy——
“……Don’t be overwhelmed by it, milord.” (Gerbera)
——A graceful hand was put on my shoulder.
“They’re using an impertinent trick. An illusion.” (Gerbera)
……”An illusion”, Gerbera said.
Only after she said that did I realize that they were making my consciousness hazy.
I remembered hearing about the fact that there were monsters with illusion powers…not during the colony, but in a lecture from Kei here in Fort Tilia.
Illusions shook the mind, not the body. If you could manipulate magical power, you could resist to some extent, but it had the nature of being much easier to apply if some conditions were met.
For example, in the case of some plant-type monsters, the beauty of fully bloomed flower petals and the mellow aroma snatched away their consciousness, and through that they bewitched their targets.
I had never heard of a Doppelgänger having such a power until now. The correct answer would be to see this as the inherent power of『Berta』, the Doppel-Queen. And, its condition was——
“Keep your head steady, milord. It appears the more you are overwhelmed, the easier it is for you to be bewitched.” (Gerbera)
“……That’s…the condition of the illusion?” (Majima)
I moaned. I understood that that this scene, the abnormal, pressing situation happening, was something calculated.
In fact, even Lily and Silane were being overwhelmed by the bizarre scene in front of them.
The fact that Gerbera had been the only one among them to keep calm was because, unlike them, she had no experience with humans. In addition to that, her stance was influencing her.
“Don’t forget, milord. Thou have me in thou right now. There be nothing to fear. No matter what they art, it be certain that they have evil intentions towards us. So, it’s simple. We just need to crush them. Am I wrong?” (Gerbera)
Whatever they were, it was fine as long as the obstacle standing before us could be crushed.
Gerbera’s logic was simple. Due to that, she was steady at all times. For the Doppel-Queen, she was almost something to avoid like this.
“The only special one appears to be the big thing behind, and the rest are like terminals without will. If we crush that, it ends there.” (Gerbera)
The large number of『Tatsuya Juumonjis』shook as Gerbera’s spider legs clacked.
“……She really is scary.” “You’re scary.” “It’s different from my existence somehow.” “I’m jealous.” “I’m jealous.”
Gerbera snorted her nose in dullness at the『Tatsuya Juumonis』that were speaking hatefully.
“Quiet. It’s quite foolish for you lot to be making light of me. Know how mistaken ye scavengers who snatch weakened prey were for coming out carelessly. There art those who eat and those who art eaten…allow me to show thou which side thou art on.” (Gerbera)
A huge killing intent gushed out from the girl with unparalleled beauty, filling the passage.
Though she had not fully recovered from the wounds she received in the fierce battle yet, the strongest large, white spider of the Deep Part of the Sea of Trees was alive and well. Queen Monsters were different in terms as creatures at best.
Her whiteness couldn’t be intruded on by the shadows of things at the level of Doppelgängers. Her torrent of killing intent, so forceful it physically pressed down on them, overwhelmed even existences without normal emotions.
While floating mask smiles, the Doppelgängers borrowing Juumonji’s appearance shivered. Everything of theirs was borrowed, but I knew only that shaking was real.
That was why I felt suspicious.
The illusion had been undone thanks to Gerbera. My now-clear thoughts brought the uncomfortable feelings to my attention.
Unlike my family, the Doppel-Queen before me seemingly had weak emotions, but that was why the fear it was feeling now should have been big.
But, why did it『carelessly come out』? It should have been obvious that this would happen…….
“……A scavenger, you say?” “Yeah, that’s true.” “I cannot deny that.”
At the end of my gaze of suspicion, the『Tatsuya Juumonjis』opened their mouths.
“I can’t win against you.” “But, I don’t need to win.” “There is one way to deal with an opponent you can’t win against by fighting.” “I just have to not fight.”
Gerbera raised her eyebrows.
“Do thee plan to run away? Ridiculous. Thee think I’ll allow that?” (Gerbera)
Despite being scared by the added coercion, the『Tatsuya Juumonjis』did not stop talking.
“I plan to do that.” “I’ve fulfilled my purpose.” “Now I just have to run away.” “Run far enough away.” “If there’s something you can do, then you should try to do it.” “In the meantime, you don’t know what’s happening.”
Among there remarks, there was something I could not miss.
“Wait a minute. Gerbera.” (Majima)
I opened my mouth, holding back Gerbera with a gesture from my arms.
I had a violent and unpleasant premonition.
“『You don’t know what’s happening』, you said. What do you know?” (Majima)
Juumonji’s expressionless faces turned this way all at once.
“Above all, it appears to have been transmitted.” “I thought it would be torn down.” “It is inconvenient for the both of us, after all.” “Very well, I’ll tell you.” “If I say it in easy-to-understand terms, that’s right……”
With clinging smiling faces, the many『Tatsuya Juumonjis』all spoke at once.
“My name isn’t『Berta』. It’s『Anton』.”
The meaning of those words——I understood them in an instant.
After all, the roaring of a wolf resounded from the other side of the passage.
“……!! We’ve been had!” (Majima)
“Wh-What’s wrong, milord? And, now is……” (Gerbera)
I replied to Gerbera, who appeared to have not understood.
“They’re only buying time. Their goal is to recover Sakagami!” (Majima)
If this was『Anton』, then that『Berta』existed elsewhere. There wasn’t just one『monster that can talk』.
The Alliance’s Knights, who were taking different actions than us, were restraining the unconscious Sakagami. While this Doppel-Queen……while Anton was distracting us, Berta was aiming for them.
The Alliance’s Knights were all elite soldiers. If their opponent was just a monster, they probably could withstand it until we went there. But, seeing that『it could talk』, Berta must have been stronger than a normal monster. It was an extremely bad situation.
I had forgotten that possibility as I hadn’t thought about it in the beginning.
No. I was forced to not think about it. By the one in front of me, Anton.
Confirming we had understood, Anton began to slowly retreat down the passage. Their actions were according to what it itself had said earlier,『I’ve fulfilled my purpose, so I’ll run away』. We couldn’t let it escape if that was true, but we didn’t have time to worry about this monster.
“We’re rushing to where the knights are. Silane, if you would!” (Majima)
Without looking back I ran through the passage as fast as I could.
The knights had separated from us so they didn’t get dragged into the fight with Juumonji. They weren’t that far away. We were able to join the knights soon.
Knights were collapsed in the passage.
Some had been thrown into the wall, others were mowed down, and the ones uninjured were treating them. Among them were Leader and Mikihiko.
Recognizing my figure, Kei ran out with disheveled golden hair
When I saw the figure of a limp young fox being held in Kei’s arms as she cried, the blood drained from my face.
The one who yelled out was Gerbera, who was right behind me.
Seeing the figure of an Arachne running up, Kei screamed a little and got ready to run, but it seemed she soon understood that she was with me and not an enemy. She stopped on the spot.
I, along with Gerbera, peeked at Ayame in Kei’s arms as she used recovery magic, albeit a bit poorly.
“……Thank god. She’s breathing.” (Majima)
First, I was relieved.
Seeing this, I was reminded that Ayame wasn’t just a young fox. She was a monster. She was made strong.
I called Lily over, and she applied recovery magic on the wounded Ayame.
And then, I turned to Kei again.
“What happened?” (Majima)
“A two-necked wolf attacked us.” (Kei)
A huge two-necked wolf. Was that Berta?
I was overcome by a feeling of bitterness. This meant we had been thoroughly outsmarted.
“Ayame-chan…protected me……I’m sorry.” (Kei)
“No. Don’t apologize. Thank you for explaining.” (Majima)
I patted Kei’s head as she felt down. There was no way I could blame her.
“Leave the rest to me. Kei, treat the wounded with Silane.” (Majima)
“……Eh? Silane…-ane-sama? Where is she?” (Kei)
When Kei opened her blue eyes, which were similar to her older sister’s, Silane rushed over to us, having arrived at this place late.
“Takahiro-dono. There’s no signs of Anton chasing us right now.” (Silane)
“I see.” (Majima)
She had been vigilant towards behind us as a rear guard. Even now, she was looking at the way she came from, and reported in an on-guard, stiff tone.
“For now, I think it’s safe. But, I’ll wait-and-see for a while……” (Silane)
Having recognized her older sister, Kei hugged Silane.
And, she began to cry while holding her.
Looking troubled, Silane put her hand on Kei’s head.
It was a reunion with her older sister who she had once thought to be lost. It was natural for her to be overcome with emotion.
I decided to leave her to Silane and I looked around.
Sakagami wasn’t anywhere I looked. It appeared he had been snatched already.
I wonder if the fortunate thing among the misery was that their goal was to recover Sakagami, or that no casualties had appeared, even among the knights.
……But, I couldn’t help but think “Why now?”.
Sakagami had been cornered until I was on the verge of killing him. Though it ended up not happening due to Juumonji interrupting, depending on the timing, it wouldn’t have been strange for Sakagami to be killed by me.
When the Master of Berta and Anton——or, to borrow Anton’s words, when Sakagami, the『King』, yelled out for assistance, there wasn’t a single response.
Had neither of them been close at the time?
……No, that was unthinkable. After all, Anton had spoken『the name of Rose, who wasn’t here』.
Only we knew of Rose’s existence. Even if we had spoken it, the only time her name had been spoken in open space after coming to this fortress……was when I joined Gerbera, who had heard Sakagami’s voice calling for help from Berta.
The fact that Anton knew Rose’s name meant that it was lurking somewhere nearby then, listening to our conversation.
And yet, Anton had not helped Sakagami.
Thinking back on it, Sakagami hadn’t asked Anton for help, but there was no way it wouldn’t have helped for an absurd reason like『my name wasn’t called』. If it didn’t know that it would be able to help now, then it didn’t make sense for it to abandon the one it called『King』.
I couldn’t help but feel the situation was mismatched. Like something was wrong with the premise…….
“Hey, Master.” (Lily)
“What is it, Lily? ……Oh, you’ve finished treating her?” (Majima)
When I was called out to and turned my gaze, I saw Ayame sleeping in Lily’s arms, raising small breaths.
“For now, Ayame’s okay.” (Majima)
I gently brushed her tiny head and switched over my thinking.
“……Alright. It’s a bit quick, but let’s chase Sakagami then.” (Majima)
I didn’t know if we could catch up with him now, but I couldn’t afford to let him go. At least, I had to confirm whether or not he was in this fortress.
“Since Silane will stay here, Gerbera, come with me. You too, Lily. I need your『nose』.” (Majima)
“Okay. I can do that, and it’s okay but……” (Lily)
Lily nodded, but for some reason her expression was one of pondering.
“Hmm. Hey, Master. Um, it’s about my『nose』.” (Lily)
When she got my attention, Lily poked her nose, which could mimic a Fire Fang’s sense of smell, with her fingertips.
“What, is it getting worse?” (Majima)
“Y-Yeah. It may be my misunderstanding, and I’m thinking ‘there’s no way’.” (Lily)
Lily’s way of speaking was unusually bad. While wondering why, I lended an ear to her.
“Earlier, Anton……had a scent.” (Lily)
“A scent? Of what?” (Majima)
The answer I got back from Lily, who looked like even she thought what she was saying was doubtful, deeply disturbed me.
“……Yoshiki Watanabe from the ‘Scouting Corps’.” (Lily)
That was the name of the other cheat ability user that Juumonji decapitated.
“Yoshiki Watanabe should have died from his head being sent flying…right? That’s why I thought I was mistaken, but……” (Lily)
Lily continued with a faltering tone.
Normally, there was no reason for Watanabe’s scent to be coming from Anton.
But, for Lily to expressly say that here, it meant that she really had noticed Watanabe’s scent. So then, that meant…….
“……Hey, Takahiro.” (Mikihiko)
When I turned around after being called out to, Mikihiko was there.
“Is what she said just now true?” (Mikihiko)
It seemed he had heard our conversation.
“Then, that guy’s alive?” (Mikihiko)
“No. That’s impossible. He definitely……” (Majima)
“Isn’t there just one possibility?” (Majima)
Mikihiko shook his head.
“Lily-san said it, didn’t she? Don’t you remember? Look, Takahiro, it was when me and you were worried about『the possibility of a Doppelgänger slipping into the soldiers』.” (Mikihiko)
Mikihiko looked at Lily, who had a shocked face.
“Lily-san, you said『You don’t have to worry that much about Doppelgängers. If there was one in a crowd like the one from before, it would be difficult to tell which is which』. Doesn’t that mean that even if Watanabe was replaced by a Doppelgänger in that place, no one would have realized?” (Mikihiko)
Lily gulped a little, and Mikihiko nodded.
“Furthermore, Juumonji blew up that place right after we arrived. Doesn’t that make that sort of possibility possible enough?” (Mikihiko)