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A long chapter, and… in the end of chapter…..
Cliffhanger-kun is back!!
Chapter 122 – The Absolute Zero
As Aaron said, even orcs could actually fight better.
The four ogres attacked with no coordination.
So this was….the limit of a monster born from a human corpse. From what the goblin shaman said, they were captured to become subjects for its experiment..
I must say that I pity them, but they’re now my enemies.
All the creatures created from collapse phenomenon so far cannot be reasoned with, and they merely following their instinct to attack. So I simply have to burn them away with black flame.
One, two, three…
[You’re the only one left]
It probably couldn’t tell the other party’s abilities. Nor it could comprehend that it had turned into the prey instead of the hunter.
It simply came at me.
As if it has no fear of death, which was strange.
Apparently noticing me frowning too much, Greed unusually spoke up.
『Ogre is it? I never thought……that the technology to create them still exist.』
『It’s one of Gallia’s military technologies. The simplest way to turn a human into tireless soldier.』
[That thing, as soldier?]
『It appeared that you’ve gotten rid of their commander. Those things, they are like puppets who would listen and follow their puppeteer. Essentially obedient and fearless soldiers.』
What the hell, using monster as soldier. Not to mention that the material to create it is human being.
The present day kingdom was where unskilled human will suffer due to its skill-centric principles. Meanwhile, Gallia was not above of turning these people into mindless soldiers who didn’t fear death.
『Yes, indeed. Gallian technology might be very advanced, but as you said, they were cruel.』
[Let’s get rid of this last one, and check the goblin shaman’s research facility. Perhaps we’ll find something.]
『In that case, just burn down that useless remnant.』
You don’t say!
The research facility was seemingly destroyed by Aaron’s Grand Cross. But I knew that the place was actually sturdier than it seemed. There should be some information left intact.
I waved the black staff at the ogre who charged at me like an idiot.
Black flame ignited from the tip, burning the ogre gradually.
The ogre flailed around, trying to hit me while roaring in pain.
Apparently I adjusted the power to be too weak. This time I shot off a slightly more powerful fire.
The screaming got worse, as the ogre burned away and finally fell over
Even after the corpse had been burnt until no trace remained, the black flame still burning on the ground. I sighed while listening to the inorganic voice in my head.
[This black flame, it simply refuses to die]
『Yes, of course. It’s impossible to control for the current Fate. There is no way for you to douse the flame now. Well, it’s only logical. Igniting a flame is actually easier than putting it out.』
[I don’t use magic too much. Perhaps that’s why I find this form very hard to control]
『Because you only know how to swing the black sword wildly, that’s how. Starting tomorrow, you’ll intensively train with only the black staff. Prepare yourself.』
[Eeeeeeee, if I use it on the spiritual world, what if I accidentally burn the world?]
『That place will disappear.』
[Isn’t that dangerous!]
『Hahahaha, that place won’t disappear so easily, as it belonged to Luna. Only she can erase it. That’s why we can burn it as much as we want tonight. Get yourself accustomed in using the black staff.』
[I hope you don’t go back on your words later. I’ll look forward to see Greed rolling around while being burned by the black flame….]
I wanted to tease Greed a bit, but my view was soon dyed in red.
It’s because blood was flowing out from my right eye.
Give me a break…
『Need some rest? You just devoured 5 Area E enemies in a row after all.』
[No, I can’t stop now. I…]
『Running out of time?』
[Yeah, Luna and Mimir helped, but it’s only on the surface]
『Nothing has really changed. The gluttony skill is still slowly eroding you. And the rate of which became faster ever since you entered Area E』
[You knew that much]
『This me is your partner after all. But are you going to keep this from Roxy?』
As I walked toward where the research facility was, I told Greed my stance on telling Roxy about my condition.
[She switched body with me. So…maybe…she already knew about my condition.]
『It was bad timing.』
[Sooner or later, I knew the time would come. I just thought that, it may have been nice if it actually lasted longer.]
『Oh well…..now then, what to do?』
[I need to learn more about my current situation, then how to settle it down, afterward, the Gate leading to that place]
『That’s earlier than planned. Did Luna say something to you？』
Greed was sharp as usual. But apart from that, I also wanted to meet Myne again.
[I want to do it on my own volition. I’m happy with what I have now. But there is always a part of me that is still concerned with Myne. Besides, according to Luna, the Door to that Place has already been opened. If it ever got opened, then what waits beyond it is the world where no one can be happy.]
『That’s why you want to go？』
[Yeah, that’s right. Even if I know very little at the moment, I have something I need to protect…so I need to go.]
Hauzen’s reconstruction was also proceeding well. Over there, the rules were made in a way as if the Barbatos clan held the management.
But in fact, the town was managed by 12 city councilors elected as the representatives of the townsfolk.
Me and Aaron did have our right to veto the council’s decision. Well, I prefer to not do that, unless the people willed it.
We mainly act as a shield to protect these people. From here on, how they developed would be entirely up to them.
By taking in the oppressed from other regions to live on Hauzen, we sought to explore a different way to live. One unlike the current skill-centric society.
According to Seto, who recently became a member of the council, it seemed that everything was progressing steadily with Gallian technology being applied more freely. In the near future to come, I don’t think I’ll have to be their shield anymore.
『Aaron will be saddened though. Remember how depressed he got when Myne was gone. How it will going to be if you also gone.』
[…..I’m aware of that. It’s only for a short while, but we made a lot of good memories.]
『Hahaha, even becoming a holy knight although for a very short time.』
[Don’t make fun of that. This may smear my name as the head of Barbatos clan. But I just want to fight as myself. Just like Greed said before.]
The first time I activated the Gluttony skill.
When I started working as a servant of Heart Mansion.
Greed told me.
Once the Gluttony skillI started devouring souls, there would be no telling when it will stop eating. The holder must keep feeding it.
The holder would always be forced to fight endlessly.
[The die had been cast, and that’s all there is]
『Indeed it did. Thinking back, it kind of feel nostalgic.』
[Let’s take care of what we came here first]
I returned to the huge hole that Aaron caused with his Grand Cross.
Seeing the toppled trees around it, one could easily see just how powerful the particular technique was.
[Well then, shall we?]
When I was about to jump down, I sensed a heavy killing intent coming from the west. Making me jumped backward quite far away reflexively.
A large chunk of iceberg had appeared on where I was standing earlier――where the research facility should be.
It didn’t fall from the sky, nor it appeared from the ground.
The sudden rush told me that it’s magic.
The iceberg itself was as large as a kilometer in diameter, effectively closing off the facility.
Unbelievable. Not only freezing the visible area, it also froze the underground.
『The trace has disappeared.』
The killing intent earlier vanished, as if it was never there to begin with. Even the trace of magic could no longer be detected.
Apparently the attack was meant to prevent me from entering the research facility.
[This ice, is different from the ordinary one. It’s even harder than iron]
Even when I broke parts of it, the broken part simply reformed. As though it’s a living being.
Since it’s like this, then let’s try burning it with the black flame.
[How about this!]
The flame shaved off the surface, but the melted part quickly restored itself. Apparently it’s the counter to the black flame, as no noticeable effect was obtained.
[Oioi…what in the world is this ice]
『To think it could stop my fourth form’s black flame. The one who created this ice barrier is not half bad.』
[Don’t praise it like that. Now what? We can’t even enter the facility now]
『Well, we can only give it up now.』
[What’s with that~!!]
The enemy had gone and disappeared somewhere. I felt the need to find out about this new opponent.
Even so, to have the ability to compete with Greed’s power is….
[I don’t know anymore]
『First of all, let’s regroup with Aaron.』
[Yeah, back to the Capital.]
Unwilling to give up just yet, I attempted to hit the iceberg with all my power.
Such attack backed by Area E status managed to make a huge crack on the iceberg. But again, it simply restored itself immediately.
It’s a wall of absolute zero. Forever freezing the area no matter what.
Finally turning back, I left the hobgoblin forest.
Along the way, as I ran through the quiet goblin meadow, I noticed that there was something happening at the capital’s south gate.
Perhaps, because we had defeated the root of the goblin problem, the merchants have resumed their activity…but the problem here was, it’s far too fast.
The news should’ve only reached the merchant’s ears in a week or more.
As I approached, I began to doubt my eyes.
[It’s the royal army! But…that flag]
The soldier carried the standard with the emblem of blue rose. The Heart family crest.
The scale was even larger than ten thousand men. They should’ve entered from the North Gate which is closer to the military district.
Why do these soldiers entered from the south gate instead? I really had no idea.
[What’s going on here? Greed?]
『Could it be…..』
He seemed to know something. But decided to speak nothing more.
The soldiers seemed to have gone through a long journey, as they tiredly entered the gate.
The civilian who received the soldiers looked at them with confused faces. But then, an old lady rushed to a certain soldier and hugged him.
[I thought you were dead, but who knows that you’re still alive. Thank goodness…]
It was quite a heart-moving scene. Starting with that, the soldiers seemed to be reunited with their families one by one.
It was hectic.
They thought that these soldiers had perished fighting the Tenryu….
The situation became even more chaotic.
In the middle of that, I actually found Aaron.
[Fate, you seem to be alright.]
[Yes, but more than that….this is…]
[I have no slightest idea. Anyways, I had Roxy and Miria to bring Mimir back to the Barbatos mansion. Her life is not in any danger.]
[I see, good to hear that.]
I felt like one huge burden was released from my body. I sighed in relief.
After a while, as I talked with Aaron regarding the matter at hand, Roxy appeared from among the crowd.
[Roxy, are you alright?]
[I’m alright. Mimir has also been safely delivered to the mansion. By the way, what is this crowd all about?
After taking Mimir back to the mansion, she decided to regroup back with Aaron along with Miria.
But along the way, they heard that some kind of trouble is happening at the south gate. So she had Miria go to the palace to report.
The situation became even more chaotic as more soldiers who should’ve been dead keep appearing through the south gate.
In the middle of all that, my eyes landed on a certain blue rose standard that was bigger than the other. Right under it was a man riding a white horse.
The man rode calmly through the south gate.
Everyone held their breath upon seeing that figure. Even Aaron was unable to speak. I was the same.
Roxy was probably the most surprised among us.
Perhaps because the person riding the white horse was a certain someone who was supposed to have been killed by the Tenryu――Mason Heart. Alive and well.
It was a pleasant surprise, but at the same time I had a foreboding fear rising in my heart.