While moving into a crowd of monsters, a young soldier had a thought.
He would die here.
Chosen Ones, like Schnee Raizar, could exterminate a crowd of monsters all by themselves.
However, if the mutation class ogre was left unattended, it would reach Balmel before the reinforcements could arrive. Even the tremendously powerful shoots, which had originated from the top of the rampart, had been repelled. Because the defenses inside the castle were weaker than the defenses outside, he didn’t know how much damage it would cause if the gate broke.
Therefore, a suicide squad consisting of especially high-levelled troops from the cavalry unit were going in to buy some time.
He was afraid of dying. No matter how long he trained, that was one fear he couldn’t overcome. And yet, the young man and the knights riding around him had chosen to fight. Even if they could only delay the monster a little, they believed that it would protect Balmel.
“50 mels until contact with the enemy――!!”
Thanks to their training, they also knew the approximate distance to the target. It was the distance between the young man and death.
Due to the attacks that were released just earlier, there were hardly any monsters between them and the mutation class. Were they afraid of the cavalry’s charge? Or were they afraid that the mutation class would attack them? The young man thought it might be the latter.
“20 mels distance!!”
“The monsters around it seem to be looking at something!! Just pay attention to the mutation class!!”
The captain of the suicide squad raised his voice. Because the mutation class looked different from a distance, the moment their eyes drew nearer the knights became intimidated.
It was described in just one word.
That body seemed like a giant type monster, such as a Gigantes or a Cyclops, which were only heard of in fairy tales. It was unthinkable that anything could lift it up, but the mutation class lifted the ax high while it was still a distance from them.
“Shit!! Stay clear!! Everyone spread out!!”
The knights responded in unison without anyone falling behind as the captain, who had predicted the danger, shouted.
The young man who was riding a horse also evaded the trajectory of the ax that the mutation class had swung down.
He thought he had dodged it.
He had avoided a direct hit. However, the young man fell from his horse because of the aftereffects. He was thrown hard to the ground, and he was about to lose his consciousness from the impact in an instant. But his life would be over if he fainted now, so he desperately held on to his consciousness.
What entered his dazed sight was the figure of another knight who fell from a horse the same way he had. When he put strength into his body in an effort to stand up, he noticed that his left leg wouldn’t move.
He’d probably been blown over together with his favorite horse. When he looked, he saw his leg was caught between the horse and the ground. Though he twisted his leg to pull it out, it didn’t come out.
Then, a shadow fell onto the knight.
When he looked up, there was the mutation class.
There was no sign of intelligence behind its corrupted red eyes. Only the thirst that emitted from its body felt real. It raised its ax using its bulging muscles. There was no time to pull his leg free.
He would die in another few seconds.
Even though he understood this, the trembling young man still drew his sword from his waist, and prepared to fight the mutation class.
From the beginning, he was already a dead man. As he endured without raising a scream, he swallowed the dread that filled his heart and glared at the mutation class
The movement of the mutation class was slow.
Actually, there were no changes in the mutation class’ movement. Facing death, the young man’s sense of time had accelerated somehow in order to evade the attack.
But, no matter how much his sense of time had hastened, there was nothing he could do anymore. He could only stare at the ax as it slowly approached.
In a few blinks, his favorite horse would be bisected by the mutation class’ ax.
Or so the young man had thought,
Then, he would be next.
――――He was bound to be.
It had been too sudden.
Something had descended between the mutation class and the young man.
No, it had fallen.
The impact of the fall caused the ground to shake.
As the cloud of dust cleared, what appeared before the eyes of the stunned young man was a person standing there with full body armor and carrying a distorted-shaped large scythe.
The full-body armor’s design was different from the designs he knew. The color it reflected in the sunlight was red –deep, thick cardinal, vivid scarlet, and bright coral. Colored using these different shades of red coupled with a brilliant reflection, the armor looked like a furiously burning flame that had taken the form of a human.
It was ornate with decorations that were placed in various places. By that alone, he understood at a glance that it was made by a skilled craftsman. The more he looked at it, the more he felt the difference of status.
He could perceive unevenness in the scythe which rested on the figure’s shoulder from the lack of uniformity of its blade and shaft. An eye-like pattern had been drawn where the blade met the shaft; it seemed more like a ceremonial weapon rather than one meant for the battlefield. Even so, it looked strangely nice when paired together with the armor.
As he was entranced by that figure, the young man didn’t say anything. Exposed to the overwhelming power emitted from the figure’s whole body, his body wouldn’t listen to what he desired it to do. Although he also did so when that figure had appeared.
Even though that person’s back was turned, the young man felt the pressure of the overpowering intimidation he received from the mutation class fading.
When the young man looked at the mutation class as they stood directly opposite and facing each other, its movement had stopped while the ax was raised.
Its eyes spread wide open, and even though they were corrupted, they clearly showed the color of fear.
(For such a monster to be overwhelmed!!)
How much power was needed to be able to do that?
Among the Chosen Ones, there were none with a presence like that of the person in armor before his eyes.
Because he was on the brink of death, the intuition of the young man had sharpened to the utmost limit and made him realize something.
The person before him had power equal to Schnee Raizar. And, that person was on his side.
“Are you alright?”
He hadn’t gone senile, but momentarily the young man couldn’t comprehend the words directed at him. Judging from the voice, it was likely the man inside the armor.
As he watched, the person who had been facing away from him until just now, moved the fainted and immobile horse, and pulled out the young man’s leg.
“I-I’m saved…hey, b-behind you!!”
Flustered, he got up in a hurry, and when he looked up, the mutation class continued raising the ax.
Now wasn’t the time to help others. The young man cried while pointing to the back. His tone was coarse probably because he was in hurry.
“Hm? Ah, that’s right.”
It was a casual reply.
In the next moment, the man in armor, who should have been in front of him, vanished. Sounds of violence reached the young man’s ear at approximately the same time.
If he were to express it in words, it would probably be something like “BAM!”. Because of the excessive sound, the young man stiffened his body.
It was by luck that he didn’t shut his eyes. Because of that, he saw the source of the sounds.
He was silent for a different reason from awhile ago.
In front of him, where the mutation class ogre had been moments before, was the man in armor with his fist extended.
The mutation class monster was nowhere to be seen. But not because it went away.
In front of the swung fist, only the elbow and the ax which the mutation class had earlier raised over its head remained, as the arm dropped.
The spectacular scene which occurred in front of the young man’s eyes made him lose it.
No weapons were used, only pure physical strength.
The body of the mutation class that received the blow burst open and into pieces, some monsters which were bathed in the splattered blood screamed.
Even more than that mass of power the man in armor revealed his thrusted arm, which was covered by a gauntlet, did not even have a scratch.
Now, he couldn’t help but laugh.
“You, what are you….”
“Me? Let see…because of the color of my armor, call me Red.”
――Red, the man who defeated the mutation class and came back without a single drop of blood on him, gave an obviously fake name.
“Well, my name doesn’t matter. More than that, you can leave this place to me, and you all must join the main force.”
“Ah, yes, I thank you for your help. But we are the rag-tag remains of the knights, fighting together with you――”
“No, that won’t do. Rather, I’d be more worried if you stayed close.”
“When someone is around me, I can’t fully utilize my ability. If possible, withdraw your whole team including the group that used magic back to the rampart.”
“But that is”
“I’m sorry but this is not a suggestion. Besides, anyone of you that draws near untactfully will be killed, you know? This is that kind of weapon.
Do you understand?” Red lifted the scythe on his shoulder to demonstrate.
Close up, it was easy to see the scythe’s size. Just half of its length alone was more than 3 mels, and the blade itself was more than 2 mels. The blade was wide, and something like a zigzag line ran down the center.
The young man felt that the line seemed to be a ‘mouth’. He had a premonition that at any moment, the ‘mouth’ could open and that it would nibble at him.
The young man now understood why Red wanted the entire army to fall back.
That thing was dangerous. It was impossible to fight alongside it. He would be killed by the blade before he could approach Red.
That powerful weapon was built for killing allies as well as enemies.
“That is a cursed weapon…”
Red replied in a casual voice. Considering the situation, that made him stand out as being a bit odd.
For the residents in this world, there were different kinds of cursed weapons, they were all the same in that they invited destruction. There was a price for using the power of these devilish arms; they led their owners towards death.
Even though this was common knowledge, there was no sign of it seen on Red. Though he had a cursed weapon, which was said to gnaw at sanity and life, both his tone and gestures were very natural.
“Sorry, but no more questions. There’s no time to waste. Someone is coming to pick you up, too.”
Behind the young man, the knights who escaped falling from their horses came to retrieve their friends.
“I’m Red. I’ve already told this knight, but I’m taking charge here. You all have to withdraw.”
The one who called out to Red was the knight entrusted as the captain of the suicide squad. Unlike the young man, the knight didn’t ask any questions, and only sent a sharp glance toward Red.
“…Understood. We’ll leave it to you. Everyone withdraw at once!! We will join the rear guard unit!!”
After contemplating for several seconds, the knight decided to withdraw. As the only captain in charge, he also quickly to made a decision.
“You too, get on the horse quickly! We are withdrawing!”
“We’ll entrust this place to that person….We’ll only get in his way.”
The knight bowed to Red.
“You helped my comrade, we wish to express our gratitude.”
“I’m not doing this to be thanked. More than that..”
“Yea, we’ll withdraw immediately…I just want to ask one question. Are you, by any chance, Schnee-dono’s..”
“I’m the letter of introduction holder.”
“…I see. I’m convinced.”
The young man who heard the conversation between the two was surprised by this as well. But he understood it at the same time. It was well known that common sense didn’t apply to many letter of introduction holders.
The young man mounted the horse that his knight’s comrade rode. They left the place together with the captain. Strangely, there were no attacks from the surrounding monsters, either. Their gazes were all directed toward Red, as if the monsters didn’t see the young man and his group at all.
After they got about 50 mels away, something like an explosion was heard from the rear.
When the young man looked back toward the sound, he saw a spectacular scene where monsters came apart and pieces were blown off into the sky.
Neither sparks nor explosion flames were seen, so it probably wasn’t caused by fire magic. Yet, he could understand that the center of the explosion-like sounds would be dreadful.
50 mels. Yes, they were 50 mels away. Still, the distance from the young man to the combat wasn’t far enough. The aftereffects of the attack were still approaching.
The horse was already running as fast as it could. His knight comrades probably also felt the danger. He didn’t even look back.
The young man could not take his eyes off the scene.
Because his line of sight was higher as he was mounted on a horse, he managed to keep an eye on the center of the attack.
That ghastliness was fully visible.
In an instant, a wall of monsters was demolished. It was Red’s attack.
Though they should have been moving farther away, the pressure from the attack felt closer.
The explosions didn’t stop and the area where the monsters’ remains and blood flew to the sky kept getting bigger.
Red, who was barely visible, hadn’t moved at all from the place where he parted from the young man. The armor’s radiance which was bathed in monsters’ blood hadn’t lost its shine. In fact, it seemed to get more fired up in order to flaunt its existence.
Just how many monsters were facing against Red, who was only one person? The young man didn’t know. Numbers were power. No matter how strong one was, he or she would get crushed by the endless surge of monsters sooner or later.
That fact still held true for the Chosen Ones. However, as if the young man’s thoughts had been nonsense, Red demonstrated a fierce attack.
Each time the scythe was wielded, it generated a red blade. When the blade passed through the monsters, the monster corpses were torn asunder and blown into pieces. Before the power of that single blow, the monsters’ level, race and physique were insignificant.
The mountain of corpses that should have piled up and become a hindrance were instead blown away by the storm that blew in addition to the generated red blades.
In the young man’s eyes there was little doubt that Red was a calamity.
He didn’t seem to care about the approaching monsters; everything was swallowed by a raging tempest.
Thing like numbers was not a problem.
The young man noticed that inside the tempest that pummeled the battlefield was an especially crooked shadow.
His eyes were barely able to distinguish the shape of the scythe that Red held.
The first time the young man saw it, he was certain there was only one blade. But now, the number of blades had increased to two.
No, it had always been two blades. The young man remembered the ‘mouth’, the line that ran through the blade. It seemed that the blade had split in two along the line, from top to bottom, and had taken on the appearance of a huge mandible.
“Did it… eat them?”
The separated blades ate the monsters’ flesh and blood. The mysterious way it appeared to seek blood added to the strangeness and haunted the young man’s mind.
Earlier the young man had observed the eye like drawing at the base of the blade. Now, the eye was shining brilliantly while emitting a dark purple color. It seemed to give off the impression that it was alive with a will of its own. He was certain that there was nothing holy or pure about that will.
A person observing the occasionally blinking shine, would feel that the scythe was rejoicing in the slaughter.
It was immediately obvious that this was a cursed weapon.
Though normally bizarre equipment tended to attract the most attention, the most abnormal thing wasn’t the equipment but the one who used it.
The fact that Red himself could continue fighting calmly while utilizing that equipment was the most abnormal part.
While the destruction spread in what could only be described as a massacre, no aspect of the attacks were wasteful or inefficient.
He wasn’t just using the power of the weapon. His swings perfectly matched its performance. His technique allowed a single powerful blow to fall on the monsters and then without delay, lead into the next blow. The recoil from the first blow wasn’t wasted but was instead used to connect with and initiate the next blow.
Though great martial arts sometimes felt like a dance, Red’s movements also had something close to that. As for the monster hordes, they looked like prearranged harmony as they were seen being knocked down.
It was a performance by the blazing red armor and the distorted scythe.
It was like Red was inside and outside of the storm area, a fixed space extended around him.
A distance from the monster hordes, the knights who had watched from the beginning were dumbstruck and simply stared in amazement as they forgot to guard. Unlike the young man who saw it up close, they simply didn’t know how to react to the absurd and unbelievable display.
The change that happened as Red swung the scythe was dramatic.
Some of the monsters who should have been heading for Balmel suddenly turned around and began to return. In addition, the monsters in the surrounding areas also turned around one after another.
It was the captain of the third war group who noticed how the monsters had changed directions and were heading toward the red dyed storm that was blowing violently in the same direction.
The range of effect had surpassed 100 mels and gradually continued to expand.
Won’t we also get swallowed by that at this rate? He was anxious about its vast range.
The number of monsters were decreasing at a frightening rate. The storm of destruction kept widening.
It was as if the monsters were voluntarily jumping into the burning flames.
Consuming the monsters’ lives, the scythe’s ferocious power kept increasing.
Standing at the top of the rampart, Tiera and Kaede realized that almost all of the monsters in the battlefield were gathering around Shin.
Was it the effect of the armor, or the scythe? When seen from above, the monsters facing Shin seemed to be following something that was lit dimly red. It seemed to draw the monsters.
The effective range of the effect was wide. There was no way to describe it otherwise.
The number of monsters could still be called a black wave. The range of the effect was so large that even monsters far enough away that mel units would be too small to measure the distance, were all affected by it.
“…What is that?”
“It’s not the enemy, so it’s all right. Well, even if I say that I feel relieved to see that, though it may not sound convincing.”
“Well, um, is that an ally?”
“Yes, that’s correct. It’s no surprise that he’s coming here.”
Having Tiera reassure her, Kaede too relaxed her hands which were tightly clenched to her staff.
Though Tiera knew its true identity, judging from Kaede’s reaction to that mystery person, she would probably be frightened of it. Though that person still fought against the monsters, there was no guarantee that their blade wouldn’t be pointed at them.
The power that was displayed before Kaede’s eyes far surpassed the limits of the upper class Chosen Ones in this world.
It was certain that it fell within the domain of the ‘Special Beings’ like Schnee and Girard.
“Not even half of the monsters remain.”
Though Kaede hadn’t noticed because she was only focused on Shin’s existence, only about one-third of the original number of monsters remained. It was visible from the top of the rampart, the view that was only covered by monsters was no longer there.
In the Kaede’s field of vision, as she able to see the whole view, something strange was displayed.
In a few words, it was a floating sphere.
By comparing it to the surrounding monsters, the size could be calculated to be two mels in diameter.
Brown and purple were mixed on its surface, and various eyes were attached.
There were eyes just like a human’s eye, pupils like a cat’s eye with vertical slits, compound eyes like an insect and full black eyeballs under an eyelid.
Those various eye sizes ranged from one cemel to dozens of cemels, and it observed the surroundings.
And then, suddenly some of that eyes directed their gaze towards Kaede.
Surprised, Kaede tried to look away. A sharp and throbbing pain struck her head. It was a pain like she had never experienced before. She couldn’t endure it and was forced to her knees.
Her view turned dark in an instant, nevertheless, her consciousness didn’t fade away.
Despite having almost no feeling in her body, she had a horrify sense that something was trying to enter inside her. Only pain could be felt clearly though.
“Eh! what’s wrong!?”
Tiera was surprised by the change. It was looking like it was only a matter of time before the monsters were defeated but, Kaede had suddenly began to groan in pain.
Kaede looked like she was about to collapse at any moment, Tiera immediately hugged her closely and supported her
Thereupon, the groaning Kaede entrusted her body to Tiera as she lost her strength. Visibly large drops of sweats appeared on her forehead.
“Kaede-chan? Can you hear me?”
She was likely to have lost consciousness momentarily. Tiera muttered while wondering what happened and looking after Kaede. Without knowing why, Tiera felt weak as if her strength slipped out from her body.
(This feeling, what it is I wonder…)
Kaede’s mind was free in the midst of the present war. There was a big fight until here. While her physical condition may be unusual, she regained consciousness.
After Kaede wiped her sweat, she thanked Tiera and stood up.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m already fine. There is a strange monster in the battlefield, come to think of it, it had some eyes and I suddenly got headache.”
“I wonder if it’s an attack using the mind system? Anyway, I’m glad you didn’t acquire an abnormal state.”
Though Tiera couldn’t read most of the information on Kaede’s stats due to the differences in their levels, she could see any indications of a bad status.
After confirming that there were no such indications, Tiera let Kaede rest and directed her eyes toward the battlefield.
What Tiera’s saw was a scene where the monster which exactly imitated a sphere, was cut in two by the red scythe.
During that time, Tiera was being observed by Yuzuha.
Yuzuha witnessed Tiera’s body radiate a faint light while holding Kaede which completely dispelled the black haze that had coiled around her.
Yuzuha barked in a volume where no one heard except itself.
Afterward, Yuzuha stared at Tiera until the war ended, trying to see through the existence named Tiera.
While attracting many people, Shin, also known as Red, swung the scythe he held in his hand.
After his speech, he waited for the knights to withdraw. Afterwards, he simply ran wild.
Once he beat Berserks, the strongest monster so far, to death the job became a simple routine as he expected.
A small complaint leaked out.
Because things that he didn’t expect were taking place.
“Good grief, a real cursed weapon can’t help but to be noisy can it?”
It wasn’t that noisy when he started to fight, but as he utilized the ability of the scythe and killed monsters, voices began to echoing in Shin’s head.
The explanation note for the scythe hinted that it affected the mind. This was likely because it kept repeating the word “KILL, KILL”.
The scythe that Shin was using was called 『Scythe of Soul Eating』.
One of its abilities was to concentrate the hatred of the monsters solely towards the user. The more monsters it killed, the more damage it caused and the larger the effective range became. Furthermore, a portion of the damage generated was returned to the user. However, while cursed equipment did enhance ability, this was always in exchange for more risk.
And as cursed weapons go, the 『Scythe of Soul Eating』 surpassed the risk of other cursed equipment
The area within the range to collect the hate, the attack range rose together with the high increased rate of damage. A reason a portion of the damage was converted into HP was that it made it possible for a solo player to battle against groups. In city defense events against monsters, nearly half of the monsters would be attracted to and attacked by the player who was equipped with this weapon.
The downside was that the user’s stats were constantly decreasing by 65%, magic couldn’t be used, and it was impossible to recover HP excluding the scythe’s ability. In addition, it seemed to attract magical attacks by allies. It had more disadvantages than advantages. Furthermore, cursed equipment always include bad status effects for the mind system.
Needless to say within range of the weapon, there was no distinction between friend or foe. It was the kind of equipment that would consume 100% of any allies who fought near it.
Because the rate of decline was only reduced to 50% even if the equipment was strengthened, death was still inevitable. All the players using it died in the event.
Since coming to this world, Shin had strengthened it using his technique and made it usable by reducing the stat reduction rate to 30%.
Moreover, since Shin’s entire body was covered in an armor called the 『Holy Flame Series』, this weakened the effect of the cursed equipment. He could even use magic and recover HP to some extent.
When it comes down to it, he didn’t have to worry about the disadvantages. He should be able to fight without a problem.
However, when the number of monsters killed reached around 500, the aforementioned voice began to affect Shin’s mind.
Even an upper class Chosen One hearing that voice, would have had to battle to maintain sanity. The voice that assaulted the mind was making progress on Shin.
“Ahh, this is bothersome”
Though he said that, Shin was far from falling insane. The effect was only enough to hinder his mood.
“I didn’t notice when I tried it out, but there is endless flowing voice in this subtly audible volume. It’s ANNOYING!!”
Was it because he raised his voice? The monsters were blown away by an extra 20 percent.
At this point the cursed equipment could do no more than annoy Shin.
The people observing, could never have dreamed that Shin would be saying things like that from within the center of the storm.
“It’s time for you to come out…”
After deciding to ignore the cursed voice, Shin directed his gaze to the surroundings again.
Because he was now encountering strengthened monsters, he determined that a commander type monster like the Raid Vice was nearby. Knowing that, soon it would be caught in his net.
Using the 『Scythe of Soul Eating』 was an efficient way to reduce the number of enemies, other than the inherent problems with using cursed weapons.
Unlike with normal attacks, because the enemy hatred was focused on the user, it was literally impossible to miss the enemy.
It was even possible to make the monsters that had already headed toward Balmel return.
As the range of the scythe expanded, it was even possible to draw the monster commander towards him.
The commander was lurking in the shadows of another monster. Because it took awhile to see the opponent clearly, Shin didn’t know where it was. Therefore, he used a strategy that would draw it out forcibly.
In an area where monsters were crowded together and the individuals couldn’t be distinguished, there was a reaction that was different from the others in Shin’s perception range. Due to the monsters being pulled toward Shin, that area seemed to be less crowded.
Before the eyes of the murmuring Shin, there appeared a monster with globe-like appearance which had a large number of eyes.
It was a monster which Shin was familiar with. A Viscount class demon which were often seen at events where monsters attacked cities. Apparently, demons had resumed full-scale activities.
However, they were unlucky this time. It was classified as low-class demon, so it couldn’t stand a single blow from Shin.
Was there a last-ditch effort? Its eyes, which faced towards Shin, flashed all at once. This was normally used to induce an abnormal mental state, but had no effect on Shin.
“That will never work on me!!”
With a single blow that contained all the piled up stress, Shin cut the demon in two. The demon disappeared leaving something like a gem and jewel.
Was it because the demon had been the leader? Though the monsters came at Shin until their last, when they were finally exterminated not a single additional blow had landed on Shin.
When he contacted Schnee, she said there were a few more on the other side.
While disappearing with Hiding, Shin returned to his original position to be with Hibineko and the rest.
Without any incidents from there on, the ‘Large Flood’ came to the end.
Severely wounded people appeared among the knights who fought against the monsters. It was a bit far in the future, but the residents were excited over the fact that it was the first time in Balmel history of the ‘Flood’ that no one had died.