Editors/Proofreaders: Ferro, TaintedDream, Namorax, Skythewood, SifaV6, JcqC, Sene9ty
Lower Fire Month (9th Month), 4th, 21:51
In the Kingdom, it was normal to sleep when the sun went down, because keeping the lamp lit would cost money. In countrysides, where most were poor, such practice was the norm. However, cities were the polar opposite of the countryside. Especially around downtown, all sorts of stores and people were active like nocturnal animals. The place Climb was heading to was a little different. Instead of a brightly lit and bustling street, it was an alleyway swallowed in darkness.
Climb walked along the silent street without any lamps. The reason he could navigate the dark street was thanks to his ‘Helm of Dark Vision’. The maximum range was 15 meters, but the view beyond the slit of the helm was that of midday. Furthermore, unlike plate mails made of iron, mithril-made plate mails didn’t rattle as much. Unless someone with extremely good hearing or an extremely skilled rogue was paying attention, nobody could even guess that Climb was walking around fully armoured.
The scouts were ready.
They saw their target when they came out of the alley. Tall walls surrounded the perimeter as if to separate the inside from the outside. It resembled a fortress or a prison. What kind of illegal activities might be going in there? He thought of all the dark activities that might be going on inside. The magical light placed on either side of the door failed to drive away the darkness that seemed be seeping out from the building. He could not see the building that was described in the plan from the outside.
“That’s it. There’s no doubt.”
Climb murmured while crouching down to hide himself, and a voice replied from beside him.
“It seems so, leader. The atmosphere fits as well. I’ll go scout it out.”
It was the voice of one of the former orichalcum ranked adventurers who had rogue class skills. Brain spoke instead of Climb.
“Be careful. There are warriors that can detect invisibility.”
“Of course, they are the Eight Fingers after all. I plan on acting as if there’s a rogue or magic caster of my level. Well, wish me luck, both of you.”
With that, the presence beside him faded. He could not hear anything, but a rogue of similar caliber might have heard the footsteps headed towards the mansion.
The only ones left were Climb and Brain.
The reason they left everybody else behind was because they weren’t used to acting stealthily. Full plate armours were loud and would have tipped off their location. Since a battle could occur any minute, they couldn’t take off the armour to approach either.
So those two came instead.
Both were warriors, so they couldn’t imitate a rogue. However, for Climb, thanks to the magic imbued in his armour and for Brain who could use martial arts in the dark, it was possible to act in darkness. From here on, it was up to the professionals. There was a reason the two of them got this close despite the danger: If the rogue was detected, they had to decide quickly if their group would attack or retreat. Now it was time for them to wait and see. Still, they had no idea what was unfolding inside. As time passed, only negative thoughts plagued them.
“Will he be alright?”
Brain replied to Climb’s concern.
“I don’t know... but we can only trust him. He is a former orichalcum ranked adventurer after all.”
“I suppose. He’s quite experienced, I guess.”
They lost track of how long they were waiting. Then suddenly, Brain reached for his katana. Following Brain’s example, Climb reached for his sword as well and heard the panicked voice of a man from beside him.
“Wait, wait. It’s me, I’m back.”
It was the rogue who went out as scout.
“Ah, it’s you. You came close but didn’t do anything... Were you testing whether I could really sense you with my martial arts or not?”
“Yea, I’m sorry about that. To test the renowned Brain Unglaus, it’s my fault.”
“It’s ok. If our situations were reversed, I might have done the same. Either way, can you tell us what’s inside?”
Climb could feel the rush of air and felt someone sitting down beside him. He looked to his side and saw nobody, but could feel the strange sensation of a faint presence being there.
“It seems like that place was set up as some sort of training ground. The courtyard was set up just like one. I had a brief look through the building and there were a lot of rooms. I think we can safely say that this is a building owned by the Security Branch of the Eight Fingers. There were couple of areas with security so heavy that I couldn’t risk approaching. Also, there’s some bad news, leader.”
The tone of his words changed the mood to a very tense atmosphere.
“These are the important points. There are prison cells in the building and a woman’s imprisoned in there. Also, there are people who match the description of the Six Arms in the compound as well.”
Even if the woman was unforeseen, they already calculated for the presence of Six Arms. So what was the problem? Brain’s question cleared Climb’s curiosity.
“How many? Considering you said ‘people’, there must be more than one.”
“Five of them. Since we already have ‘Devil of Illusions’, it probably means everyone else is gathered there.”
In another word, this was an impregnable fortress. The worst possible location. But—
“This may be bad for us, but better for the others. If they’re all gathered here, that means the other locations will be that much easier.”
It was the silver lining in this worst situation.
“Then what will we do leader?”
“There is nothing to do. This place will be impossible to take down. We will retreat.”
“Will that be alright, Climb?”
“No, not really, but do we have a choice? If all of the Six Arms are gathered here, then this must be one of the two important places and we can’t even check if it is. But considering the difference in strength, it’s inevitable.”
“That is true.”
“Then should I go in again to see if I can grab any documents before we withdraw?”
“No, it’s too dangerous. It would be best to retreat while they still don’t know we’re here. What do you think?”
“Yea, I agree. Then what will we do now? Go to the other locations and help them out?”
“That would be the best choice. Can you inform the others who’re waiting then? We’ll wait here and see if anybody comes after us.”
“I guess there is no harm in being careful. I’ll leave it to you then.”
The still invisible rogue intentionally made walking sound to reassure Climb that he was headed to where rest of the group was waiting.
“...Nobody seems to be chasing him, Climb.”
“Then shall we join up with the rest and move on to the next location?”
“Yea— huh? Look over there, Climb.”
When he turned around, he could see the person he met yesterday approaching the building they were surveying.
“That’s Sebas-sama? Why is he...”
“...It’s hard to think this is a coincidence... What is going on? Is he one of them?”
“I don’t think that’s the case. I doubt you really think that either.”
“That is true. Maybe if he was someone who’s really good at acting, but I doubt he’s someone like that.”
“We should call him—”
As soon as he said that, Sebas looked directly at the two of them. Climb and Brain were hidden in the shadows quite some distance away to survey the building. They wouldn’t be easy to spot. It could have been a coincidence that he looked in their direction, but Climb didn’t think that was the case.
Sebas came walking at brisk pace.
It was at an incredible speed. Whenever they blinked, he had closed an incredible distance as if he was teleporting. Even though he was just walking normally, he moved at a speed that the brain refused to register. Then he came into the alleyway. To be more precise, he nearly flew over the heads of the two men hiding by the alleyway entrance.
“My. To see both of you here, what a coincidence. So what is your business here?”
“No, that’s something we should be asking you. We were planning on launching an assault on that building, which is owned by Eight Fingers.”
“...Are there only two of you?”
“No, there are more behind us.”
Climb asked Sebas who was murmuring.
“What are you doing here, Sebas-sama? Do you have business in that building...?”
“Yes, to be honest, the woman I told you about yesterday was kidnapped and is being held in that building. They called me out, so here I am.”
“Is that so?! Speaking of which, our comrade who scouted ahead said there is a woman in there as well.”
“...Where is he?”
“He should be coming back soon... Ah, just in time.”
The former adventurer returned with his invisibility worn off. He was wary of the old man with a gentlemanly aura which did not fit the situation.
“This is Sebas-sama. He helped us capture ‘Devil of Illusions’ yesterday. He seems to be acquainted with the woman you spoke of earlier. He’s someone we can trust, don’t worry too much.”
The rogue nodded as sign of understanding and talked extensively about the information he had gathered, starting with the woman. Sebas spoke with a grateful voice after listening to everything.
“Is that so, I understand. Thank you, it will be easier to rescue her now.”
“Don’t worry about it, old man. By the way, everybody is ready to withdraw...”
The rogue glanced at Sebas as if feeling sorry for having to retreat and leaving him alone despite knowing that someone Sebas knew was being held hostage.
“Sebas-sama. The strongest of Eight Fingers, called the Six Arms are gathered here... Can you take care of them all?”
The rogue frowned at Climb’s question. Climb also understood what the rogue might be thinking. The Six Arms were foes matching adamantium ranked adventurers in strength. It would be impossible to win against five of them. However, ignoring such doubts, Sebas replied lightly.
“If it’s five people like that Succulent fellow yesterday, there shouldn’t be a problem.”
The rogue blinked for a moment before taking Brain and Climb aside and asked them while looking at Sebas with pitiful eyes.
“...Leader, is that man crazy?”
Anyone who listened to Sebas just now would agree. Especially if they knew about the abilities of an adamantium ranked adventurer. But Climb, who had witnessed Sebas’ abilities, knew there was no overconfidence in that statement.
“No, he is that strong.”
The rogue looked at Climb as if he were looking at a madman.
“Brain thinks so as well.”
“What?! Unglaus, you as well?”
Brain smiled bitterly as he nodded at the rogue.
“That’s right. Even if Gazef and I fight against him at the same time, we wouldn’t be able to win.”
“I, is that... No, if it’s true, that’s incredible...”
The rogue still looked at Sebas with disbelief, but could only trust what they were saying.
“If we are requesting help from Sebas-sama... It might be inconvenient, but can you tell Sebas-sama about the Six Arms?”
The only time Sebas broke his gentlemanly aura was when he heard one of the Six Arms’ nickname.
“Did you say ‘Undying King’ Deibanock... It’s an unduly nickname for a foolish creature.”
Besides that murmur, the information exchange finished without a hitch. Climb asked then.
“So, Sebas-sama... Is it possible for you to help us out?”
“Of course. I came to rescue Tsuare anyways. I shall take care of the Six Arms.”
“In that case, Sebas-sama will rush in from the front and we will infiltrate secretly in order to rescue Tsuare-san. I’m sorry to leave all the fighting to you, Sebas-sama...”
“That’s fine. It would be favourable for me too, since you would be able to rescue her while they’re distracted and they won’t be able to drag her off through a secret escape route.”
“I understand. I will rescue Tsuare-san no matter what. Then who would you like to be accompanied with? I don’t think it’ll be a good idea to go in with everyone like it was planned...”
“Hmm... If we need to infiltrate, it would be best to be as quiet as possible. Then after we rescue her, we might have to fight our way out. If that’s the case...”
The rogue looked at Climb and Brain.
“If he could use invisibility magic infinitely, it might be different story... but I think going with only the three of us would be the best.”
“Is it alright for me to go with you?”
“Of course, leader. My warrior comrades aren’t really fit for infiltration because they’re too stiff in their armour.”
“I understand, then we will infiltrate with the people here.”
“It’d be good if our magic caster could cast noise cancelling magic, too... Well, if it’s for 3 people, I’ll ask him to cast invisibility magic.”
Climb spoke in worried tone.
“Even if everybody goes invisible, my helm can activate invisibility detection once per day... but what about everyone else? If everyone can’t see each other and gets lost, it will be a problem.”
“Don’t worry Climb, I have a magic item that can detect invisibility. Even though it’s a one use only, I’ll be fine.”
“No need to worry about me. There’s no way I can miss the leader and Unglaus’ footsteps.”
“Then we will be able to communicate fine. We will give Sebas-sama some time before infiltrating.”
“I’ll be in your care.”
Climb and Brain were flustered at Sebas, who lowered his head. They didn’t do anything to deserve a bow from someone like Sebas. They were basically using him like they did at the brothel yesterday.
“No, we are the ones who should be thanking you. Since we came to attack this place, we are very grateful that you are taking care of the Six Arms.”
“In that case I suppose we are even.”
They could not find any hint of negativeness in Sebas’ bright smile. Climb stood up feeling relieved.
“Then we will retreat and come back after magic is cast on us.”
Lower Fire Month (9th Month), 4th, 22:15
Sebas gave himself a generous amount of time to arrive, so he was several minutes ahead of the instructed time on the parchment. Though he was early, he stood in front of the gate.
It was a fence styled gate so he could see inside, but because of the trees, his line of sight was obscured.
“Hmph, you came on time.”
With coarse voice, a man appeared from in between the trees. Of course Sebas knew that man was there the whole time because he had activated a skill that detected all life forms within a certain radius. He couldn’t physically see him, and since it would be dangerous to rely on this skill alone, he only used it under special circumstances.
“Over here. Follow me.”
Following the man’s guide through the door, Sebas walked on the little pathway through the garden. For a garden owned by an underground organization like Eight Fingers, it did not have gloomy feelings about it. The trees were trimmed cleanly and he could tell they must have a fairly talented gardener. Following the pathway, there was large clearing resembling a training ground. Numerous torches dotted the ground and red flames danced about everywhere. There were roughly 30 people, mostly men and a few women, who were all smiling. It was the smile given by those accustomed to violence who could never imagine themselves losing. Sebas looked around the clearing. He could not find anyone who could present a proper challenge but he found the Six Arms he heard about from Climb’s comrade.
One wore a hooded robe. It was dyed black and the edge was sewn with red thread as if it were imitating a flame. He could not see inside the hood, but the aura was not that of a living being. The nickname “Undying” was not a simple word play, but because it was an undead.
The lone woman among the Six Arms was dressed lightly in thin silk. She had countless golden bangles on her wrists and ankles and they made a metallic sound every time she moved. On her waist hung six scimitars. The man beside her was flashy. He was dressed like a matador and held a rapier whose blade looked as if it grew out of a rose. It even smelled like a rose.
The last man was covered in unremarkable full plate armour and kept his sword in the sheath. A total of four people — their leader, Zero, was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps he was waiting his turn elsewhere. When the four of them stepped forward, their minions moved to surround Sebas.
“Old man, I heard you are quite strong. You defeated them all with just a single strike?”
“We had to secure our place within the Eight Fingers with our skills alone. It will be dangerous for us if we lose here. Succulent? He was an idiot to lose in front of the head of Slave Trade branch, even if that branch is now fallen.”
“So I have one question for you. Succulent said he lost to Brain Unglaus, but was he actually defeated by you and simply did not admit to it?
“Well, I never fought with him directly. I only exchanged greetings with him in the mansion and he was unconscious the next time I saw him.”
“Well, I guess it was only natural that he lost. If the opponent was the renowned Brain Unglaus, there’s no way he could have won.”
“Especially if he became stronger since the duel and is on same level as Gazef Stronoff, Succulent’s loss was a given.”
“But it’s not something that can be forgiven. We’ll take care of Unglaus and that shitty princess’ underling later. But you old man, who instigated this whole annoyance, you will die first.”
“We will break you. If we couldn’t, it would put us in a bad spot.”
“Look over there.”
The Six Arms spoke one by one and pointed to third floor of the building.
“There are several high-ranking people over there. They’ve gathered to see us kill you nice and slow.”
“Is someone called Zero there as well?”
The four smiled mockingly as if they were looking at a weakling. Sebas pointed towards the building and then lowered his hand. The Six Arms wondered what he was doing.
“What is that? You picking a fight?”
“Don’t worry about it. So, where is she?”
“Who are you talking about?”
The reply came with a smile that was clearly looking down at him. Sebas replied sternly.
“She’s the women you kidnapped from the mansion, Tsuare.”
“What if I say we killed her?”
“Are you guys truly that generous?”
“Hahaha! Correct answer. We’re not that generous. She’s going to be a gift for Cocco Doll. We have her wrapped up nice and tight.”
Sebas felt one of the four suddenly looking towards a specific place in the building. The only thing that mattered was that it wasn’t the place where he had been told Tsuare would be. Even so, he only needed to confirm it afterwards.
“Since everyone’s gathered here, come all at once. It’d be waste of time and bothersome if Zero escapes.”
“...This old man doesn’t mince words.”
“Are you that confident you’ll easily take out the underlings? It seems you’ve never met a truly strong opponent.”
“Those are indeed wise words. I wish to return those words back to you... but may I ask about something? Why do you think I am weaker than Brain?”
“Stupid question. When you become as strong as us, you’ll be able to sense how strong your opponent is. And you, old man, are nowhere near us.”
With the exception of Deibanock, the other two agreed.
“Is that so...”
Sebas could also approximately estimate the enemy’s strength by their Ki, but it was difficult to estimate one’s strength when it was hidden by skill or magic.
“So we’ll give you a chance. We’ll fight one at a time, so—”
“—I am strong.”
Sebas motioned for them to come at him.
“Like I said previously, don’t do something annoying like fighting me one at a time. If all of you come at once, you might last 10 seconds.”
“Don’t look down on us, human.”
Deibanock’s shoulders shook.
“Taking you easy? No, you are the ones who’re taking me easy. My name is Sebas. The one who gave me my name is the strongest warrior. The master I serve is a Supreme Being... but, I can see it’s no use talking about him to lower creatures such as yourselves. I grow tired of talking. Let’s finish this.”
Sebas took a step forward. It was towards the creature with the nickname that displeased Sebas the most.
‘Undying King’ Deibanock.
Its true identity was a naturally spawned elder lich. Undead normally spawned in places where many people died and they tended to hold a deep hatred towards living beings and focused on killing them. However, a few undead with sentience suppressed their hatred towards living beings and formed relations with them. Deibanock was one such undead. The objective of his unnatural life was to master magic he couldn’t use when he first spawned and to attain different skills beyond magic as well.
If there were similar undead, it might have been a different story. Actually, there was a secret society that only consisted of undead magic casters, but unfortunately, Deibanock never had the chance to meet any of them.
And so, he sought wealth in order to learn more magic.
In the beginning, he killed travelers on the road and took their money, but after losing to adventurers who were sent as a punitive force, he realized the foolishness of such actions and looked for new ways to acquire money. So he hid his true identity to join a mercenary company, but after it was noticed that he could cast ‘Fireball’ continuously, his identity as an undead was discovered and he had to run away.
It was Zero who approached him after he had just lost a way to make money.
He introduced someone who would teach Deibanock some magic and offered a reasonable amount of money in exchange for working under him. It was the kind of help Deibanock never expected. If he continued strengthening his magical power, there was a possibility that an immortal being like him would one day possess enough strength to destroy all life. Zero would have been sponsoring someone who posed threat to humanity in the future.
Sebas approached him like a storm, curled his fingers into a fist and punched. Without giving him time to dodge or defend, Sebas smashed Deibanock’s head into pieces. His unnatural life was extinguished before he could understand what kind of wrath he had wrought. Sebas spat with spiteful effort that wasn’t like him.
“There is only one being who can use that title. The one who stands above all. How dare some lesser undead like you use it.”
While Sebas shook his right fist as if to dust off the bone pieces, Deibanock’s body disintegrated and the numerous magic items he had been wearing scattered in every direction. Amongst the crowd frozen with panic, only the Six Arms moved. Without experiencing a lot of carnage befitting for true veterans, they would not have been able to react. This was something praiseworthy as it proved that their reputation of being able to stand toe-to-toe with adamantium ranked adventurers was not just a baseless rumour.
Sebas’ next opponent was the woman.
“Dancing Scimitar” Edstrom.
The scimitars had ‘Dance’ magic imbued into them. Just like the name, the weapons moved as if they were dancing and attacked automatically, increasing the number of attacks several folds. But since the magic only allowed for simple patterns. It was not suitable to use as a main weapon. It was only useful for surprise attacks or support, and it would only annoy the opponent if she was fighting someone of equal skill. Because weapons could only be imbued with a single spell, it was common sense to use better magic than ‘Dance’. For example, Gagaran from Blue Rose only used magic that increased the attack power of her weapons.
However, for Edstrom, there was no magic more suitable than ‘Dance’. Usually, this spell was activated when the owner of the weapon used their mind to give it orders, but it was impossible to command a floating weapon to do anything other than simple movements if one was in the middle of a fight with their life on the line.
But she was different.
It was as if there was an invisible warrior there, one who could control the weapon with natural movements equal to her own. The reason for that was the strange way her brain was wired, she possessed two abilities instead of a talent.
One ability was an almost abnormal spatial awareness, and the other was to use her hands independently from each other to perform different actions at the same time. Some people were able to do this despite never having learnt to do so, but she was much more proficient at this and her brain was so much more flexible that it almost appeared as if she had two brains. If she only possessed one of these abilities, she wouldn’t be able to handle her swords as freely, so the fact that she possessed both of them could only be described as a miracle.
Amongst all the nine million citizens within the Kingdom, there was probably no other person who possessed both abilities. Carrying out her will, the swords left their sheaths and floated in the air. She only needed to focus on defending. The other five swords would be the ones attacking. This was the sword prison; a prison where death was certain.
Even before the scimitars could attack, Sebas closed the distance and swiped with a chop at incredible speed. Sebas’ hand enhanced with Ki was sharper than any blade and her head flew instantaneously. Blood spurted from her neck and her body collapsed a moment later. However, the five scimitars were still floating in the air. Sebas’ chop had been so precise and quick, she did not feel her death. There probably wasn’t any pain either. Following her will, the five dancing scimitars thrust towards Sebas. Ignoring them, Sebas stood straight and spoke towards the detached head in a praiseful tone.
“To fight even after losing your head... I applaud your fighting spirit.”
Her lips opened and closed. What was he talking about? She couldn’t understand, but as if feeling something from his words, her eyes looked around and found her headless corpse. It’s a lie. It’s an illusion. There’s no way I can lose. I didn’t lose. The reason why I can’t move is probably because someone used magic. Someone say something. When she accepted the truth, her face contorted in despair. Her mouth opened and closed once more and the swords that were tracking Sebas fell to the ground. They showed no signs of ever moving again.
“Let’s go together. The two of us can take him!”
The scream came from the man wearing the full plate armour, who could barely suppress his panic. The armour couldn’t protect him from fear. He realized not just with his body, but also with all his heart, that everything Sebas had said had been the truth, and that this was someone he should have never turned into an enemy.
“T-t-take m-my ‘Dimensional Slash’!”
He intrinsically knew that he would die. He knew that he could never win against Sebas. The reason he didn’t try to run away was because he knew he would be dead within a few steps. If he fights, he will die, and if he runs, he will die. Since both were not an option, his attitude showed that he was a warrior nonetheless.
Sebas squinted his eyes. It was first time he thought he would need to be wary of an opponent. Sebas’ creator, the world champion “Touch Me”, had an ultimate skill which could tear the very fabric of space and time. There was no way his opponent would be able to use that kind of attack, but even a cheap knock-off would be able to damage Sebas.
“Void Executioner” Peysilian.
He received his nickname for the magical ability of drawing his sword from a one meter long sheath and being able to strike an opponent up to three meters away, but it was not an attack that really cut across the void.
The secret lay in the sword.
There was a kind of sword called Urumi. It was a longsword made of a soft metal which bent and flailed easily. What he had was a sword shaved to such an extreme thinness, that it was more apt to call him the “Thin Executioner”. Perhaps a more accurate description would be that of a long and thin metallic whip. He earned his nickname by whipping out his sword at high speed and slaughtering the opponent with just a flash of light.
Compared to the other Six Arms, it was much closer to a trick than a skill, but the fact he could handle such a difficult weapon was proof that he was a highly skilled warrior. Even the one called the strongest warrior, Gazef Stronoff, wouldn’t be able to handle this weapon as proficiently as Peysilian. However, the real strength lay in the fact it didn’t matter whether the opponent saw through the weapon. The scariest thing about the whip was its extremely fast speed. It was difficult, or rather impossible, to dodge simply by looking. A strike executed with super-high speed. For a human being who had no answer for it, it would have appeared to be a strike cutting across void.
The edge of the sword, the super speed strike was stopped between two fingers. He did so in such a natural movement, it was as if he was picking up something he had dropped earlier. Sebas looked at the metallic object between his fingers and raised a brow.
“What is this... You were talking about slashing through dimensions...”
With a strange bird like shout, a rapier flew towards him.
“Thousand Kills” Malmvist.
His main weapon, “Rose Thorn” had two terrifying enchantments imbued onto it. First was ‘Grinding Flesh’. The moment the rapier came into contact with skin, it would tear the flesh around it apart. If the sword pierced skin, it would leave an even more massive wound with the flesh torn about. The second was ‘Master Assassin’. It was an enchantment that would turn even a minor scratch into a serious wound.
These abilities alone would be quite destructive, but there was one more secret. This time, it wasn’t magic, but poison. The tip of “Rose Thorn” was coated with an especially potent poison, a mix of several deadly poisons. Malmvist was originally more of an assassin than a warrior, so he fought like one as well. It was the kind of logic that if one was fighting to kill, it was best to kill the opponent quickly and efficiently, no matter the method. The result was a weapon that could kill an opponent with even a scratch.
If one didn’t plan for it, one would be easily killed, whether it was Gazef Stronoff or Brain Unglaus.
But that was also his weakness.
Because of his mindset that he would win if he could just scratch an opponent, Malmvist’s skill with sword was rather lacking. However, his skill in lunging was real and if only lunges were judged, it would be stronger than Gazef Stronoff’s strike. In other word, the Kingdom’s strongest lunge. Additionally, his numerous martial arts could even match the former Black Scripture member, Clementine.
Sebas did not dodge. He did not need to dodge.
Malmvist, who had just lunged with all his might was lost for words. He saw the tip of his weapon, which could kill anyone with just a scratch, being held back by Sebas’ finger. That was correct. Sebas had blocked the tip of the rapier with his finger.
“...H-how did you?”
Blinking profusely, Malmvist could only moan after confirming it was neither an illusion nor a dream. That was all he could do. Common sense said that it was impossible. There was no way Sebas could stop a lunge that was powerful enough to pierce steel. His experience screamed out it was impossible, but reality told a different story. Even with all his strength, Malmvist could not push the old man’s finger at all.
The “Rose Thorn” was bending. He tried to pull away so he could lunge at a different place, but Sebas held it firmly between his thumb and index finger. He could not move his sword at all. It was as if an immovable mountain stood there. When Malmvist looked at his comrade, he was pulling at his sword with all his might as well. In the middle of it all, a steely voice rang out.
“Then, here I come.”
A moment later, Peysilian’s head burst into pieces.
It was an attack that was rare to be seen from Sebas. Until now he attacked with finesse, but this strike was a thoughtless attack born out of anger.
He shifted his gaze towards his right fist, which had easily pierced through the head, sending pieces of it flying.
His white glove was dyed with blood and had a pungent metallic smell.
“That was unseeming of me...”
Sebas took his fingers off the rapier and removed the blood soaked glove. The moment it fell to the stone floor, Malmvist quickly snatched the glove with his rapier.
Malmvist might have taken pride in his comet-like speed, but for Sebas, it was laughably slow. There were several ways for him to take the glove back, including smashing the rapier and blowing away Malmvist’s head, but unable to understand what his opponent was doing, Sebas asked with genuine curiosity.
“Just... what might you be doing?”
“This is it!!! This is the magical item that makes you stronger right?”
It was a regular glove made of white linen.
A cracking voice, foam at the corners of his mouth and bloodshot eyes. Malmvist had already descended halfway into madness. He was trying to rationalize the unbelievable sights he had witnessed.
“You only need to admit that I am stronger than you are. What a troublesome person... If you wish to, keep thinking so.”
Sebas swung his fist towards the man who was laughing like a madman. After Malmvist’s head flew off and his body collapsed, silence descended. Sebas quickly blew on his fist as if there was a speck of dust. There was not a single scratch on his fingers where he had used ‘Iron Skin’.
“If I hadn’t been so wary of some fake attack like “Void Executioner”, it would have been over in five seconds, but to last twenty seconds against me, I applaud you.”
Sebas pointed at the building where people would have been watching this grisly scene and gave an order to the hidden predator.
“Solution, they might have important information, so please capture them alive. Now...”
He looked at the panicking minions surrounding him with cold eyes.
“Ten seconds for all of you.”
Lower Fire Month (9th Month), 4th, 22:13
Climb briskly walked along the empty hallway. Even though they had ‘Invisibility’ magic cast on them, thanks to his helmet, he could see the two people with him. Because of his helm, he even thought at one point that they didn’t have invisibility magic cast on them. However if he looked carefully, the fact the colours were blurry confirmed that was not the case. Though they needed to be careful not to make noise, they couldn’t afford to slow down.
They needed to rescue the woman while Sebas was distracting the others. Even if Sebas was stronger than Gazef Stronoff and Brain Unglaus combined, the opponents were the Six Arms, foes who could stand toe to toe with adamantium ranked adventurers. If they decided to simply swarm Sebas, things could get dicey. That’s why they needed to rescue the woman quickly and escape with Sebas.
After turning several corners and descending a floor, the rogue who was in front stopped.
“Sorry to stop so suddenly, leader. We’re here. Just around the corner is the jail and there’s a woman being held in there.”
It was probably a coincidence, but the moment the rogue spoke, the spell granting them invisibility passed its time limit and the outlines of the three became clearer again. On the rogue’s signal, Climb peeked around the corner and saw a dark hallway with large barred rooms side by side.
“...Nothing else here, just like my reconnaissance earlier.”
There were no other prisoners or guards. It was too suspicious to be explained with just “carelessness”. It was almost like bait. But come to think about it, who would dare infiltrate the building while the strongest of the Eight Fingers, the Six Arms, were gathered there. Without other factors such as Sebas distracting everyone, Climb would not have come here. The Six Arms might have thought so as well. Those were the factors working out for Climb’s group, but they had to be on guard.
“Let’s get this over quick.”
Feeling some sort of camaraderie after being through danger together, Brain asked the rogue with familiarity.
“Can I ask something? What’s that double door over there for?”
When he turned his gaze to innermost part, there was a large door just like Brain said.
“Ah— From my experience, this is more like a holding pen rather than a jail. Behind that door... would be some sort of fighting pit.”
“Speaking of which, I can smell the odour of animals coming from those rooms. I heard that in the Empire, they make monsters fight against each other in a fighting pit...”
Climb smelled the air following Brain’s example. He smelled beasts, carnivores, to be more precise.
Brain murmured to himself.
“But are they using it for training purposes, or for public executions? If there are other uses, I’d rather not think about it. Maybe it was for a show as well. Ah, I talked about something useless. Shall we go?”
Climb nodded at Brain’s suggestion and the rogue agreed as well. With the rogue at the front, Climb and Brain followed. After arriving at one of the inner jail cells, the rogue checked the door. Climb took out one of the bells from the pouch, rang it, and with the power of magic, the noise of something unlocking could be heard. The rogue looked disappointed, but since they didn’t have much time Climb hoped he would understand.
“Are you Tsuare-san?”
Climb asked the woman inside. The woman who was lying on the floor stood up. She wore the clothes of a maid, and her appearance matched Sebas’ description. Considering she hadn’t had the time to change since her kidnapping, this was definitely her. Climb felt a bit of relief. Their first objective was complete. Now was the time for the next objective; to escape with her.
“We were told to rescue you by Sebas-sama. Please come here.”
Tsuare nodded at Climb. Tsuare made an astonished expression when she saw Brain and the rogue after coming out of the jail cell. Her gaze stayed especially long on Brain.
“This door — the one in the same direction as the fighting pit — doesn’t have any noise coming from behind it, but going through a place where we’ve never been before is too dangerous. It’s best to go back the way we came.”
Climb and Brain agreed. Considering they were both warriors, they thought it best to leave such a decision to the expert. Climb looked down at Tsuare’s feet and confirmed that she was wearing shoes. Running wouldn’t be a problem.
“Then let’s go before the enemy comes around.”
“Understood. I’ll take the lead again, but since we don’t have invisibility magic this time, I’ll be more careful. Don’t miss my signals.”
“I understa... what is it, Brain?”
“Hmm? ...Nothing. It’s probably nothing, Climb.”
Brain frowned but said nothing more. He kept staring at Tsuare, but Climb could find nothing wrong with her. She only appeared like a regular maid who had been kidnapped.
“Ready? Then we’ll head out.”
The rogue went ahead, followed by Climb, then Brain and Tsuare, who went last. Racing past the cell doors, the rogue slowed down near the corner in order to scout the way ahead, but someone appeared from around the corner as if they were leisurely taking a stroll and blocked the rogue’s path. They had anticipated some sort of opposition, but it was hard to react to something as sudden as this. Climb froze at the sudden turn of events, but the rogue showed a reaction worthy of a former orichalcum ranked adventurer. He drew his dagger and ran forward with killing intent.
With a loud noise, the rogue flew back. It was as if he had been rammed by a bull. It was a coincidence, but Climb caught his fall. If the rogue had fallen on the floor without any way to soften the landing, he would have taken massive damage, but luckily Climb and the Rogue hit the floor together when they were thrown back. His mind immediately went to the rogue who was groaning in pain, but he had to pay his attention to the man who suddenly appeared. That man was bound to be the enemy. Climb suddenly realized the man’s name in a flash and shouted in astonishment.
This man was part of Six Arms, the leader of the Security branch and the most powerful man in the Eight Fingers.
“...That’s right, kiddo. You’re that whore’s slave. Hmph, for ants to crawl all the way in here. If you leave honey as the bait, they seem to crawl out from everywhere. Truly disgusting.”
Zero only glanced at Climb and the rogue who was sprawled on the floor, but his real focus was on Brain. He was studying him by scanning up and down to gauge how strong of a warrior Brain really was. Climb thanked the fact that the truly powerful man paid no attention to him and checked the rogue’s condition.
“Are you alright? Do you have any healing method?”
Climb spoke quietly so Zero would not notice, but there was no reply, only a pain filled groan. Surprisingly, there was a fist shaped dent in the armor around the chest. It showcased how strong Zero’s strike truly was. The rogue regained conscious after several shakes and Climb patted around his waist at the rogue’s request.
“I remember your face. Brain Unglaus, someone who fought toe to toe with Gazef Stronoff. There’s no weakness in your stance. Seems like you went through some training after the tournament? I can understand now. The reason why Succulent lost was probably because he fought you straight on. His opponent was too strong. I think I’ll need to forgive his loss. Originally, I would kill anyone who makes me lose face, but I am generous. I’ll make an exception for someone of your skill and swordsmanship. Kneel to me and swear to be my subordinate. If you do that, I will help you achieve whatever you want.”
“Is the pay alright?”
“Well, there’s no harm in thinking about it. Since I won against Succulent, I expect some good treatment.”
“Hahaha! You are greedy. To talk about money before begging for your life. You can’t take money with you to your grave.”
“So, what are you saying? You can’t pay me a good amount? Seems you’re poorer than you look. Or are you pocketing everything yourself?”
Cracking sounds came from Zero’s fist.
“Seems like your mouth is the only thing that’s working right, Unglaus. There are lots of swordsman who’re better at talking than fighting, are you one of them? Or did you get overconfident after defeating Succulent? Then I should apologize about the fact that you are feeling so satisfied after defeating the weakest of the Six Arms.”
Brain shrugged his shoulder as if to show off. He was probably stalling for time for Climb and the injured rogue. So why was Zero playing along with this? Was it due to his confidence that he could win even against all three of them? Or was there something else?
When Climb paid attention to his surroundings, he saw Tsuare slowly creeping towards Brain. If she wanted to be protected, it would have been better to move behind Climb and the rogue. There was no reason to brave danger to stand behind someone who was facing off against Zero. Brain looked behind him once. It was a subtle movement, but his gaze went towards Tsuare and it was not a friendly look either. No, it was more like he was facing an enemy.
Huh? Why there? Did he look this way? No, that wasn’t it.
Something was happening. Climb stood up with an uneasy feeling.
“Hmph, it seems like the ant finally stood up. Stalled for enough time? Then let’s hear what you truly think. No, there is no need for words. Kneel or don’t, there is only one choice. Now Unglaus, make your decision.”
Brain snorted at Zero.
That was all.
He put his left hand forward and pulled back his right hand to make a fist. He lowered his centre of gravity and stood steady. The way his muscles expanded, one would almost expect to hear the sound of ripping flesh. If one had to describe Zero right now with a simple description, he would be like a boulder, no, a mad bull. Brain also lowered his stance. It was similar to Zero, but also completely different. If Zero was like a rapid stream, then Brain was similar to calm and clear flowing water. If Zero was offense, Brain was defense.
“I told them not to kill the old man, but they are very lively. They might overdo it and kill him. That would put me in a difficult spot, because I’m supposed to kill that old man as an example for what happens to people who dare oppose us.”
Zero’s face crinkled with anger. It was as if his face was proof that rage could turn a person ugly.
“Unglaus, your death will be proof that I am the strongest. Your grave will serve as a reminder for anyone foolish enough to challenge the Six Arms! As for that whore’s slave, I’ll decorate his head and send it to her.”
Enough killing intent flooded the hallway to make Climb’s body shake. However, compared to what he felt from Sebas yesterday, it was nothing. Climb turned sharply and Zero showed the tiniest bit of concern at that.
“Is that it? Alright. Zero, I’ll take you on. Climb, take care of the one behind me!”
The only person who didn’t understand was Climb. The rogue threw a dart at Tsuare without hesitation, and the dart thrown by the former orichalcum ranked adventurer was sharp and fast.
Yet Tsuare was somehow able to dodge the dart almost effortlessly. From Sebas’ description, Tsuare was just a simple maid. Her movement just now was too agile for this to be a coincidence.
“Was I already seen through?”
The appearance was that of Tsuare, but the voice was that of “Devil of Illusions” Succulent.
“The reason why you didn’t say anything to someone who came to rescue you was because your voice would give it away, right? But if you try to stand behind someone, anybody would be suspicious. Even before that I was a bit hesitant, considering the possibility that she was either being mind-controlled or that someone was disguising as her.”
With that, Brain revealed Succulent’s trick while focusing on Zero.
“I also noticed something about the way you were running, but I couldn’t get any solid proof even until the very end... I have to admit you’re quite good. No wonder, even though I was injured, you were able to avoid my dart without saying anything.”
The rogue stopped talking and gave Succulent a grateful expression.
“Hmph... Succulent, it seems your little tricks were seen through. In that case the time for tricks is over. Now is the time where everything will be decided by strength! ... Succulent, take care of those two. You can do that much, right?”
“O, of course, boss.”
Tsuare’s figure melted away and Succulent appeared. He was still wearing a maid’s clothing. Succulent understood what Zero meant very well and stared at Climb.
“We meet again, kiddo.”
His voice was strangely tense, considering the fact that he had won against Climb yesterday. Eight Fingers was not a forgiving organization, and no further failures would be tolerated. Succulent’s back was against the wall and he could not afford to give any quarter.
“Was Eight Fingers capable of releasing someone imprisoned directly under the orders of the Royal Princess??”
Climb felt the extent of the Eight Fingers’ influence as he gripped his sword.
“...I can’t lose this time.”
Yesterday, Brain defeated him with a single strike but since both Zero and Succulent were present, it would be difficult for Brain to face against two of the Six Arms at once. Climb also couldn’t rely on Brain winning against Zero and focus only on stalling for time. He knew Succulent was better than he was. With some half-assed resolve, he would just lose again like yesterday.
This time he will win.
Climb resolved himself to not back away and stepped towards Succulent.
“Don’t worry, don’t worry~. I’ll help you out.”
The rogue spoke from behind him. The light tone was probably intended to prevent Climb from tensing up too much. He was thankful for the support, but the rogue had received a strike from Zero and still hadn’t fully recovered even after using a potion. He was also not sure how well the rogue would be able to support someone he had never fought side by side with before.
The rogue smiled as if he read what Climb was thinking.
“Don’t worry, I usually fill the support role. I’ll show you a way of fighting other than clashing with blades.”
The rogue had vast experience. Climb didn’t need to accommodate him, instead the rogue would support where Climb was lacking. Climb only needed to fight Succulent with all his strength. When he steeled his determination and turned around, Succulent was making clones like last time. There were several Succulents, and Climb couldn’t tell which was the real one. A bitter taste spread through his mouth. The moment the two of them slowly edged towards each other, an opened pouch flew from behind Climb towards Succulent.
“This is how rogues fight!”
The pouch exploded beneath Succulent’s feet and powder spread everywhere. Succulent covered his mouth to guard against poison, but this wasn’t poison, it was a magic item.
“It’s the ‘Powder of Will O’ Wisp’.”
The effect was immediate. Out of the five Succulents, only one had some milky, white light about him.
Succulent realized this and his eyes opened wide.
The ‘Powder of Will O’ Wisp’ was intended to be used against stealthy opponents like rogues or someone using invisibility magic. It only reacted to living beings.
Since ‘Multiple Vision’ copied the main body, even if one threw ink on it, it would be reflected immediately amongst the clones. Unless someone was really good at distinguishing, it was very hard to discern the true body. However, the effects from magic items were not reflected in the clones. If it was a high class spell, it would be able to deceive even magic items, but someone like Succulent, who trained to be an Illusionist and Fencer at the same time, couldn’t cast that kind of magic.
Climb’s sword came swinging towards Succulent’s true body.
Succulent leaped away, avoiding the attack. It was a splendid dodge, however the maid’s clothing became messy as the result.
They exchanged ten more blows just like that.
The one on the offensive was Climb. This wasn’t an intentional trick of Succulent, but the pure difference in their abilities. There was no way a person could suddenly become extremely strong over the course of a day, so nothing should have changed from yesterday. However, there were always exceptions. Climb had simply gotten stronger and Succulent became weaker.
First of all, unlike yesterday, Climb had his armour, shield, sword and other accessories with him this time. His stamina and defense had increased and he could use his usual fighting style. On the other hand, all of Succulent’s magical items had been taken away when he was arrested, and he was also wearing the cumbersome attire of a maid right now.
Because of their changed equipment, the difference between them became smaller, but that was not all.
One reason was that Climb already knew how Succulent fought. Another was that there was a rogue supporting him. Thanks to the items the rogue was using, Succulent’s illusion magic was useless. It was as if they were ready to face Succulent.
The rogue had actually collected information on the Six Arms and had prepared to face every single one. The fact he was prepared for even the imprisoned Succulent was amazing. Only someone with a truly meticulous personality could prepare for all that.
Even before the fight was fully underway, Succulent let out a frustrated scream.
The one in his sight was the rogue, but Climb always moved to block Succulent’s path towards his target. He could not allow Succulent to attack him, and being shielded by Climb, the rogue started to taunt Succulent.
“Oi, oi. Don’t make such a scary face. You’re supposed to be a member of Six Arms, someone who can stand toe to toe with adamantium ranked adventurers. This kind of handicap should be easy for you.”
Succulent’s face crinkled with rage. The scratches from earlier exchanges bled, making his face even uglier.
With a loud curse, Succulent posed to cast his magic. Normally, a warrior like Climb would charge to disrupt the casting, but this time he didn’t. While trading more than ten blows with Succulent, he had started to trust the rogue to do the right thing at the right moment.
A bottle flew from behind Climb and shattered at Succulent’s feet. He could see coloured smoke spreading everywhere.
“Guh! Cough, cough ”
Succulent coughed in pain.
The rogue had interrupted the casting with an alchemical item, which effects became immediately apparent.
If he had specialized as a magic caster, this kind of disruption would have been nothing, but because he had trained to be a warrior alongside magic caster, even a minor disruption broke his concentration, causing him to waste his mana.
Climb rushed at the distracted Succulent with all his might. It was not the continuation of the fight so far. It was the kind of advance that was filled with the determination to not take a single step back. Depending on the observer, some would say it was a premature move in a bid for a fast victory. But Climb’s warrior instincts screamed.
This moment would determine the end of the duel.
It was true that Climb and the rogue had been on the offensive so far, but there was no guarantee that they could keep their advantage. The items the rogue was throwing were bound to run out eventually, so he had to finish this while they still held the upper hand.
What Climb activated was an original martial art he learned yesterday.
This skill didn’t have a name yet, but if he were to give it a name right now, he would call ‘Limit Breaker: Mind’. The effect was to remove all limits imposed on the body by the brain, and as a result all his abilities would increase by a level, including his physical ones.
The downside was that if he used it for an extended period of time, it would cause physical fatigue and muscle tearing, but if he didn’t try to finish the fight quickly, even if he had to use this kind of method, he would not be able to win against Succulent.
As the martial art activated, he could feel something in his mind click and change.
He screamed out all the emotions that were swirling inside of him, and panic spread on Succulent’s face as if he had realised something Perhaps he felt fear and astonishment, but in any case, this wasn’t a face that someone who could stand toe to toe with an adamantium ranked adventurer would show to someone below his level.
Climb swung his sword down but it was blocked. To block a longsword with just a dagger without any help from magic was truly praiseworthy. However to force a skilled fencer like Succulent who specialized in dodging to block, Climb’s strike was also commendable.
Despite that, the attack didn’t end here. Climb followed through with a kick.
As Succulent tried to protect his stomach, his face crinkled.
Succulent’s face paled and he staggered back while pulling back his waist.
The rogue stepped out of Climb’s shadow.
He had kicked Succulent between the legs with an iron boot, and even though Climb wore a protective pad, he could still feel an imaginary pain traveling down to his feet.
After that, Climb dealt him a final blow!
Blood spattered and Succulent collapsed on the floor. He did not let his guard down and stood wary. He especially paid attention so nothing could approach the rogue and confirmed that it was not an illusion.
This was a huge victory. Even if it was two against one, this victory meant a lot. Climb looked towards Brain. He wondered if he could help, but quickly abandoned the thought.
That fight was on a different level altogether.
The sound was different as well. Even though it was a katana clashing with a fist, metallic sounds rang out. Their fight showed no signs of ending. The katana and fists were clashing against each other without time for breath.
The one who especially attracted attention was Zero. His strikes were carving the wall and left marks as if it was made out of soft clay.
“Damn... They said high-level monks have fists of steel, but that bastard’s well beyond that. He’s at least mithril, no orichalcum.”
The rogue who stood beside him murmured. During a solid minute of trading blows, in a fight where Climb would’ve been killed immediately, neither took a single scratch. Zero showed signs of earnest respect on his face.
“Unglaus... You’re better than I thought. You’re the first one who blocked my attacks like this.”
Brain had equal signs of respect on his face.
“You, too... This is my second time seeing a monk of this calibre.”
Zero made a curious face.
“To think there was another monk on the same level as me. Never heard of him. What’s his name? Since I can’t hear it when you’re dead.”
“He’s probably coming here as we speak. After defeating your Six Arms.”
Zero frowned before smiling.
“Heh, you mean that old man? Unfortunately, my four trusty subordinates will be welcoming him. They might not be as strong as me, but they’re much stronger than Succulent. There’s no way he can come here.”
“Is that so? I can see him coming around the corner any minute now.”
“Oooh, I’m so scared. I guess in that case I should fight more seriously.”
Climbs eyes opened wide on that word. If Zero was holding back during an exchange with these kinds of blows, what would his true strength be like? He was also amazed that Brain showed no signs of surprise.
Both of them weren’t fighting with their full strength? This really is a battle between men who could rival humanity’s finest, the adamantium ranked adventurers!
“That would be best, Zero. Those two over there are done, so I don’t need to drag this out. You’re going to lose here, Zero.”
Brain sheathed his Katana and slowly lowered his stance. It was the same stance as yesterday, where he took down Succulent with a single strike. Before Climb could even wonder if Brain could take down Zero with a single strike, Zero jumped back. He had easily jumped a distance that was well beyond the limit of ordinary human strength.
“Edstrom can make a barrier with her swords, but you seem to have a different kind of a barrier. If I stepped in carelessly, I would be cut in half.”
He couldn’t completely figure out Brain’s original martial arts, but to be able to guess what kind of skill it was showed that Zero’s ability as a warrior was truly superior.
“But... It’s a skill you can’t use without taking a stance first.”
Zero thrust his fist in midair. It might have seemed like a meaningless move, but Brain’s body shook from shockwave made by the fist.
“I can win by just attacking you from a distance like this. Or do you have a way to cut someone who is far away?”
“No, I don’t.”
Brain answered honestly.
“If you fight like that, then all I need to do is not take that stance.”
Zero asked Brain quietly in an atmosphere almost not befitting him, in deep and calm state.
“Brain Unglaus, is that your trump card?”
“Of course. It’s my trump card that has only been defeated... once.”
“How boring. If it’s already been defeated, then this will be the second time.”
Zero slowly pulled his fist back and took a stance.
“I will break you head on. I’ll destroy that little skill of yours and win. First I’ll win against you, Brain Unglaus and one day I’ll make Gazef Stronoff kneel before me. Then I will be the Kingdom’s strongest.”
“If you think you can try using me as the first stepping stone for your ambition, you’re going to slip. You really must have nothing to do, Zero.”
“Talking really is the only thing you’re good at... No, since you got this far, that’s not strictly true. However, realize the fact that I am better than you in your grave. That it was foolish to challenge Zero-sama! Here I come!”
Zero’s upper body had tattoos of various animals, which were emitting a faint light. Comparatively, Brain did not move. He simply waited like a statue. Climb could feel he was about to feel massive amount of released power from both people.
A place where nobody could interrupt and raw power collided with raw power.
And suddenly a voice that was out of place could be heard:
“So this is the place where everybody gathered.”
Everyone was surprised and turned around to look at the intruder. Even Zero and Brain, who could not afford to take their eyes off each other, did so. An old man was standing there, it was Sebas. Someone Zero would’ve never expected to be here had appeared.
“What? What happened? The Six Arms should be taking care of you... Did you sneak past them?”
Sebas shook his head.
“No. All your comrades has been defeated.”
“...Don’t speak nonsense. They might be weaker than me, but they’re still the Six Arms. There’s no way you can come here unscathed after facing them.”
“Surprise often accompanies the truth.”
“Sebas-sama! The Tsuare here was a fake! It was Succulent disguising himself with an illusion. We need to rescue her now!”
“Ah, thank you for worrying about her, Climb, but there is no need to be concerned. I already rescued her. She was in a different part of the building.”
Sebas looked over his shoulder and Climb followed his gaze to find a woman covered in a blanket near the entrance.
Climb quickly looked down at Succulent. His maid clothing was ripped in places and soaked in blood. There was no way to hand that over, nor would the receiving party want it.
“There’s no need to worry about it, Climb. It’s just regular maid dress, so it’s disposable.”
Climb felt relief and Sebas who was smiling bitterly.
“Oi, oi, oi. To just chatter on while ignoring me... You sure are gutsy.”
Zero, who couldn’t move carelessly due to Brain in front of him barely moved from his spot to look at Sebas with a hate filled expression.
“Old man, I’ll ask again. What happened to my subordinates?”
“—I killed them all.”
It was a casual tone, as if one was picking a flower, but it was also filled with coldness.
“N, no way! You think I’ll believe you?”
Sebas smiled at Zero’s scream. Sebas’ laugh without a single hint of hostility felt only truthful.
“...Brain Unglaus. We’ll postpone our match a little bit. I need to show this old man the power of Six Arms.”
“Alright. Just try not to get destroyed so fast. Well, not that I’ll have my turn anyways.”
“Shut up! ...Old man, you’ll pay for your lies with your life.”
Sebas smiled bitterly, but the man who proclaimed himself as the strongest couldn’t stand that smile Zero’s tattoos gave off a faint glow.
The head of the Security branch and leader of the Six Arms, “Battle Demon” Zero.
If men like Gazef Stronoff and Brain Unglaus fought with him unarmed, they would die in an instant. Even if they were armed, the outcome of the match would be unclear.
One of the classes he had attained was “Shamanic Adept”. This class borrowed the strength of animal spirits and enhanced one’s physical abilities. There was a limit to how often one could use this skill a day, but it raised the user’s abilities to that of a beast. For a physically superior animal to use a human being’s martial arts, it was a truly fearsome combination.
Zero activated his skills. Usually he only activated one to conserve his strength, but he realized that Sebas was quite a strong opponent.
Though he didn’t really believe that Sebas defeated four of the Six Arms by himself, considering that he had broken through the front, there was bound to be someone else with him. Most likely Blue Rose. Until he could gather more detailed information, all he could do was destroy Sebas with all his strength and postpone his duel with Brain Unglaus.
He would need to show overwhelming strength to the onlookers before taking off. He determined this would be the best course of action and prepared his strongest skill accordingly.
Panther on the legs, falcon on the back, rhino on the arms, buffalo on the chest, lion on the head; he activated them all. He felt explosive power surging through him. He was almost worried about his body swelling up and exploding.
Shouting out the power building in him, he took a step forward.
The attack of strongest of the Six Arms, Zero. It was a straightforward punch. No feints, no tricks, just a pure, straight punch. But the strength behind it was immense. Not only his skills as a Shamanic Adept, but also his other skills as Monk, as well as his magic items enhanced the strength and destructiveness of his fist.
It was so fast that even Zero had a hard time controlling it. The fact it was a straightforward punch with all his strength made it a usable skill. He had no hesitation in showing his ultimate strike. This skill was simple, but invincible.
He had confidence that no trickery could stop it. Zero felt a sensation of superiority above others as he rapidly stepped forward with a sensation of being pulled back.
But it was too late.
In a blink of an eye, the fist carrying extreme power and weight had already arrived in front of Sebas and still kept propelling itself forward. Zero could only laugh at Sebas who was still standing there stiffly. He would regret fighting the strongest of the Six Arms.
The fist found its mark on Sebas’ undefended stomach. It was a perfect strike.
With an explosive aftershock, Sebas body flew back like a ragdoll. He hit the floor, but the strike was powerful enough to make his body keep bouncing back on the floor. It was an immediate death. No, it would only be natural for it to be so.
All of his internal organs would have turned into a liquid by now. The outside was the only thing that kept its semblance of a human. This was Zero’s strongest skill. A demonic skill that was true embodiment of phrase, “single strike kill”.
Or at least that’s what was supposed to happen.
Sebas stood his ground and did not budge even a bit. He had taken Zero’s fist, with all the strength in it, with just the muscles in his abdomen. It was an unbelievable sight to anyone; a scene defying all common sense.
The difference of strength between their appearances was absolute, but the result was the complete opposite.
The one who could not believe this the most was Zero. There was no creature that could receive his ultimate attack and survive. This had been the case so far. However, with a result like this, he did not even realise that something black had passed right in front of his eyes.
Sebas’ leg rose high into the sky. It passed by Zero’s nose with fluid motion. Then the leg came crashing down.
A heel drop kick.
That was the name of the skill, but the speed and strength behind the kick was abnormal.
“...Who are you.”
Zero murmured and Sebas’ lips curled at the edge.
Terrifying crunching and cracking sounds spread everywhere. Zero’s head was smashed, his neck and spine broke as if he had been crushed by an object weighing several hundreds of kilograms, and Zero’s body kneeled.
The hallway was wrapped in silence.
The atmosphere could only be described as “stupor”. Sebas moved his feet as if avoiding blood from Zero’s smashed head and dusted the place where Zero’s fist had struck.
“Phew, that was dangerous. I would have died if not for your warning.”
He was lying! What warning?
The three men, and perhaps Tsuare as well, did not speak out loud, but all shouted that in their minds.
“I survived, thanks to you, Climb-kun.”
“—ouh... Ah, yes...”
Climb who could only mouth the last words of “watch out” received Sebas’ thanks rigidly. He did not know what to say due to the mental shock.
“It seems I was just a tiny bit stronger.”
Sebas showed a tiny bit of space between two fingers. He probably meant the distance between the fingers was the difference between him and Zero, but there was no one who would agree.
Tiny bit my ass.
Just like before, everyone thought this on the inside.
“Either way, since we rescued her, it would be best to retreat.”
“Uh, no, about the Six Arms... did you really?”
“Yes, I killed them all. They were too many and strong opponents. I regret I was not able to give them any quarter.”
“Is, is that so. It was inevitable, please don’t dwell too much on it.”
All three of their gaze immediately shifted to Zero’s corpse. They could not even suggest that it was a lie.
“T-then we should call in the soldiers to search rest of the building.”
The soldiers were originally there to search the building. The fact they could clean out a stronghold with Sebas was an incredible stroke of luck. If Sebas’ statement was true, and it probably was the truth, there would also be the additional bonus of having destroyed Eight Fingers’ most powerful fighting force.
The only real minus was not being able to capture Zero, but they had calculated they would not be able to arrest him in the first place, so there was no real loss. Anyone who argued about the result would be a fool.
Climb spoke with an excited voice and Brain nodded as if it was the correct decision, but there was someone who stood with rigid expression.
“What is it, Sebas-sama?”
“N-no. It’s nothing. There’s just something that doesn’t sit well with me... But before that, it seems the air in here is not a good one. Would you mind stepping outside with me?”
“Yes, of course.”
Looking at Zero’s corpse and Tsuare, everybody agreed with Sebas. Sebas approached Tsuare who was near a jail cell door and held her in a princess carry. Her white feet, which didn’t have a lot of meat between their bones and their skin, kicked at the air for a bit and they could see Tsuare’s thin arms grabbing Sebas.
They could feel that the relationship between the two of them wasn’t just that of a butler and a maid.
You should stop prying into their personal life. It’s not befitting you Climb. It doesn’t matter what their relationship is.
“Then let’s go.”
Climb spoke and headed out first.
The other three followed. They could start the investigation after Sebas had left and there wasn’t much chance that someone would jump out and attack Sebas, who had both his hands full. He was tense for a moment, but there was no need to.
The building, which had been bustling with activity when they first infiltrated, showed no sign of anyone being there. Logically speaking, there wouldn’t be anyone brave enough to challenge Sebas when he had just taken down Six Arms. Chances were that most of them had fled, and if that had been the case he hoped the group outside would capture anyone who tried to run.
Climb’s shoulder felt lighter with a sensation of relief.
However, someone tapped Climb’s shoulder. It was the rogue. He was looking at completely different direction and his expression was similar to the one he had made when Sebas defeated Zero with a single strike. Following his gaze, Climb’s eyes also widened when he saw it.
“A wall of flame?”
Climb nodded at Brain’s whisper. If a house was burning, then flames would be a natural occurrence, but if it was a regular flame, Climb wouldn’t have been so surprised. However, a gigantic wall of flame over 30 meters tall had sprouted and was surrounding part of the capital. Lengthwise, it would be well over several kilometers long.
“What do you think that might be?”
Three people snapped out of it when they heard Sebas’ curious, but relaxed voice.
“What should we do, leader? That looks like the warehouse district. Which group was in charge of that location?”
“The leader of Blue Rose, Alvein-sama... We’ll consider this an emergency, cancel all plans and retreat to the royal castle. We’ll follow the orders from high-up afterwards.”
“That seems like the best course of action... Ah, for Sebas-sama...”
“I’ll be taking Tsuare to a safe place, so that nothing like this can ever happen again.”
“I understand, Sebas-sama. Thank you for yesterday and today.”
“There is no need to worry about it. Our goals just happened to have coincided... I shall repay the debt for helping me rescue Tsuare one day. Now then, please excuse me.”
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