When Hiiro and the others reached the place where Nikki and company were at, an amazing sight was brought before their eyes .
A collapsed Ikki was being held by a crying Nikki, while a bamboo bear stood by, as if protecting the two . Surrounding them……was a group of several high condors .
(Why are there so many demons?)
Hiiro heard that if a person touches black bamboo, it will turn into a demon . Only Hiiro and his companions were here . Obviously, Hiiro and the others who heard the story did not touch anything . And since Nikki also thought that the black bamboo was a threat, she would not dare to try touching it and turning it into a demon .
Then… . . . Why? Confused by such thoughts, suddenly, a shoot of black bamboo growing nearby, though no-one had done anything, transformed . It became a demon right before their eyes .
“Apparently, that bamboo will transform either way, if we leave it as it is”
Lilyn pointed out the obvious . Hiiro thought so, too . In other words, the black bamboo that were growing here and there would transform into an ugly High Condor someday .
(I see . If the more it absorbs a person’s mana, the faster the demonification process is; perhaps absorbing energy from the ground little by little also qualifies . )
So in other words, sooner or later all the bamboo here will die out if left as it is . While Hiiro was feeling anxious about the tragedy these bamboo shoots will fall into,
“As if I’ll permit such a thing!”
Pulling out 《Severing Sword・Zangeki》1 from his waist, Hiiro attacked a High Condor nearby . With a whoosh, they all turned into sand, and then soon after fell into the earth .
(Should I bring down the black bamboo here, or should I trace the main body of that guy first and foremost?)
Among them was a High Condor with a conspicuously big body . That might be the original, perhaps, from what it looks like . When he was about to kick the ground while having such a thought,
Nikki, still snuggling to the body of Ikki cried out in tears . Naturally, Hiiro glanced at Nikki, then at Ikki, who was still not moving .
No, don’t tell me . Then he turned his face to the bamboo bear, who also noticed his gaze while the bear could only shake her head sadly .
Looking closely, there was something crimson spreading from the ground where Ikki had collapsed . The bamboo bear made a sorrowful cry, then charged and mowed its left hand with intense force, blowing away the nearby High Condor .
However, there were so many of them; an easy target because of its gigantic figure, it was eventually overwhelmed by the High Condors, who bit its body to pieces . Blood spurted out from the bitten portions, making the bamboo bear shout in pain .
Even amidst those pitiful wails, Nikki didn’t do anything, still sobbing as she buried her face in the body of Ikki .
“Gramps, lend me a hand!”
“Certainly . As for Milady, Shamoe-dono and Mikadzuki-dono – “
When Silva was asked for his assistance, he nodded right away entrusted Lilyn to Shamoe and Mikadzuki . Lilyn slightly moved her chin, indicating her approval .
Then like a magic trick, knives and forks appeared in Silva’s hand, then he threw them at the High Condors .
In the meantime, Hiiro passed in between them and headed towards Nikki . After gently touching Ikki’s fallen body,
(……already dead, huh?)
He confirmed the death of Ikki with his sense . However, Nikki, continuously muttering “I’m sorry”, “get up already” “because of me…” was still in denial .
Hiiro had suspected what might have caused him to fall this way, but upon hearing Nikki say “because of me…”, Hiiro could only assume that this happened because he covered for Nikki .
(……That must have been painful for her)
These two people were arguing a while ago, and split up after having a quarrel . Hiiro assumed that they wouldn’t take too long to bury the hatchet, but now it had led to this situation .
Hiiro,looked at Nikki who was to unable to grasp the situation in the the surroundings, even the fact that Nikki’s very own mother who had brought her up had gotten injured, was still looking down while being oblivious to her surroundings,
“Kid, how long are you going to cry?”
“Do you think that someone will surely forgive you if you cry?”
“Gusu……Bu-but……still……even if I say sorry…and yet……Ikki protected me……”
Apparently Hiiro’s guess seemed to have hit the mark . This meant that no matter how much she apologized, Ikki had already died . A small quarrel with a precious family member, and it had ended in the worst parting – death .
If Nikki didn’t argue, Ikki won’t need to come to this place, and Ikki wouldn’t die while protecting her and Nikki would not cry .
“……But this is now the reality . Do you intend to waste the life she had saved?”
Hiiro wouldn’t allow it . Ikki protected her and saved her life . This gave Nikki more reason to cherish that life, more than anything . But instead, she didn’t even take notice of the surrounding enemies, not even the mother who was still protecting her .
In this situation, Nikki will eventually be as good as dead as her mother . If that happens then she will definitely betray the desire of Ikki and his mother as family to save her .
Hiiro watched the repeated scenes of her mother protecting her from behind the Bamboo Bear . And for that reason, Hiiro moved instinctively .
“If your life had been saved, no matter what the sacrifice was, live! Even if it’s the only thing you can repay to that chibi-bear over there!”
Hiiro slashed at a High Condor with his sword . Another High Condor frew from the side, and in exchange, he hit it with a fist and blew it away .
“You have something you want to do still, doncha? In that case, choose . Continue crying like this? Or follow that person and defeat the enemy?”
Nikki muttered , gradually lifting her face .
“You can always cry anytime, you know . But for now, open your eyes and look around you!”
having finally realized the situation at her surroundings, although still staggering, Nikki finally stood .
“T-thank you……very…… much”
The bamboo bear told Hiiro while vomiting blood .
“Fufufu, I have a favor to ask”
“……And that is?”
“Please take them a little away from here for a moment”
I became interested in what she was planning to do .
Hiiro touched Nikki and Ikki’s forehead, using『転移』(Transfer) Character, they transferred to Lilyn who was not far away . Though Nikki was staring blankly throughout, Hiiro ignored it and shouted “Come here!” towards Silva .
“Was there something wrong?”
Silva who moved immediately asked in wonder .
“Something is going on with that fellow”
Facing Hiiro’s line of sight was the bamboo bear . Covered in wounds all over, Nikki who saw it and tried to approach her as she cried, but Hiiro held her down in place .
Then, the High Condors circling the area swooped down one after the other, overwhelming her huge body . The bamboo bear groaned in pain, but at that time, Hiiro and Nikki surely heard it .
“………Live strong, Nikki……… for becoming my child………thank you”
At that moment, Hiiro felt the mana inside the bamboo bear gradually compress to its limit, and so using the character 『防御』(Defense) right away,
A tremendous explosion occurred . However, most of the explosion poured upwards . Perhaps the bamboo bear gave consideration to Hiiro and the others, not getting them rolled up in it .
Still, a destructive shockwave blasted Hiiro and company who were outside the area, but it was all stopped by the magical barrier created by Hiiro .
Nikki could only stand there unmoving, with a face painted with despair . By the time the smoke born from the explosion was cleared, a large crater had presented itself before them, showing how tremendous that explosion was .
Not even a trace of anything, living or dead, was left . It was like scavengers had dug up this ground just to see what’s underneath it .
Hiiro then released the barrier, and then Nikki who was being held down . Nikki afterwards headed towards the crater, still not accepting the sudden events as it is . However, there was nothing to be found there .
(Don’t tell me she chose to self-destruct……)
However, thanks to the explosion all the black bamboo growing around the vicinity had disappeared . The more you thought about it, the more likely it was .
Hiiro and the others could only watch Nikki’s sorrowful cries in the center of the crater . Not that they could say anything . They judged that it was necessary to leave her, who had just lost her family, alone in the meantime
Then, a black object fell from the air . Hiiro stared at the object that fell from the crater, increasing his vigilance .
Apparently, it seemed to be the original corpse……the moment he thought so,
“It’s still alive!?”
Everyone was taken aback when Lilyn spoke . The moment she said so, although it turned into an eerie figure with mostly only bones and skin, it got up and noticed Nikki and turned its bloodlust towards her .
However, Hiiro had already moved .
Hiiro again appeared in front of Nikki with the Character 『転移』(Transfer) . While glaring at the High Condor approaching at them from the front,
“……That guy is the one who took your family from you”
“……You now have the chance to avenge them, though I don’t care either way……I want you to beat that guy”
Nikki anxiously looked up at the face of Hiiro . Hiiro pulled out his sword, the end quickly entering the bosom of the High Condor .
With gale-like movements, he cut both arms of the High Condor . Then he launched the 『止』(Stop) Character, halting the movements of his opponent . The High Condor, not knowing what happened, desperately tried to move its body, but failed to do so .
Nikki seemed to be fascinated by the strength of Hiiro .
Hiiro sheathed his sword, then went back to Nikki . Nikki, who had been kneeling in place, stood up unconsciously .
“Put out your right hand”
Although puzzled, Nikki did as she was told . And, that hand was then curled up, wrapped by Hiiro’s right hand . Then, a bluish white light covered Nikki’s fist .
“See that red ball? That is your target”
From the chest part with its flesh blown away by the explosion, a red pulsating lump could be seen within it .
“With that fist, realize, learn, avenge . Let out your anger”
Nikki, while glaring at the bound demon, burst out her feelings with full hatred,
She beautifully struck the chest of the demon . The red lump was broken into pieces, turning the High Condor into ashes, erasing its existence from the world .