Chapter 280: The empire of law is burned by the storm
Vandalieu planned to directly reach Botin’s seal and remove it before defeating Gorn and his allies.
The objective of this plan was to remove the seal on Botin while preventing Gorn and his allies from realizing that Vandalieu and his companions were cornered, keeping them under the impression that Alda’s protection of Botin remained intact.
Vandalieu and his companions were capable of defeating Gorn and his allies in a head-on battle. It would be a fierce battle, and much would have to be expended for it, though the enemies who were not so individually powerful might scatter during the battle.
It was also possible that they could defeat Gorn and his allies through the alternative method of laying a trap for them. But there was a chance that they or Alda would try something reckless if they were driven into a corner.
After all, Gorn and his allies did not believe that Vandalieu was here to remove the seal on Botin. They were under the impression that he was here to devour Botin’s soul.
The loss of the subordinate gods whose souls Vandalieu had devoured so far was a great one, but such gods were not irreplaceable. It would take thousands or perhaps tens of thousands of years, but the gods’ ranks could be replenished through the selection of believers who were worthy of ascending to godhood.
However, it was nearly impossible to replace a great god such as Botin. The process of replacing such a god was the same as the one for replacing a subordinate god, but there were no mortals who were capable of ascending to becoming a great god. It was possible that one could ascend to become a subordinate god, then undergo further growth from that point to become a great god, but… that would be impossible even on a timescale of even a hundred thousand years.
This much was clear if one looked at the example of Farmaun Gold. He was one of the champions and the founder of the Adventurers’ Guild, but he had not matched Zantark, the War-God of Fire and Destruction, in any aspect other than strength in combat.
That was precisely why Alda and his subordinates, who were under the impression that Botin would support them once she woke from her slumber, had to avoid losing her at all costs.
There was no telling what lengths they would go to in order to defeat Vandalieu if they were cornered in that situation.
There were demigods who weren’t a part of the force guarding the Demon King’s Continent because they were culling monsters to prevent the spread of Devil’s Nests in uninhabited lands, or because they were guarding seals on evil gods and fragments of the Demon King. These demigods would surely come in a time of desperation, and it was even possible that Alda would use one of the pseudo-Divine Realms to descend himself.
Vandalieu wanted to avoid a situation where he would have to fight such enemies while simultaneously removing the Demon King’s seal on Botin.
… In addition, it was unclear as to whether Botin really would become an ally of Vida once she was freed. Peria, the Goddess of Water and Knowledge, had granted Juliana her divine protection and sent her a Divine Message to remove the seal on Botin, so Peria was certain to cooperate with Vida’s faction.
However, there was almost no information to base decisions on when it came to Botin. After all, she had been sealed for the entirety of the hundred thousand years that had passed since the battle against the Demon King.
The only piece of information available was the fact that a hundred thousand years ago, she had chosen Hillwillow as her champion, a creation-oriented champion like Zakkart.
However, Borgadon, the God of Mountains who was one of her subordinate gods, had assured Vandalieu and his companions that Botin would not see them as enemies attack them without asking any questions… despite the fact that Vandalieu was host to a countless number of Demon King fragments and many of his companions were Undead.
Botin was the Mother-Goddess of the Earth, so she had a rough side to her, but she was also the patron deity of craftsmen. Though she did get angry, she was not a goddess with a short temper.
“The surface area of Gartland is a third of the surface area of the Demon King’s Continent, though it was built away from Botin’s seal and extends past the continent’s edge,” said Vandalieu. “But if we dig from the wall, we should be able to dig a tunnel that connects to Botin.”
“That is precisely correct,” agreed Mayor Yurak, who was still wearing the headbands that were given out to fans during the concert. “However, the bedrock of the wall is hard, and we must dig for tens of thousands of meters. In addition, there is no doubt that hundreds or thousands of monsters will appear from within the earth. Personally, I cannot approve any operation that jeopardizes Gartland’s peace. Though my mood is elevated from the wonderful stage performance I just witnessed, that will never change.”
Gartland, being a vast subterranean space, had a different environment from that on the surface. It did rain, but there were no typhoons, tornadoes, or lightning strikes to worry about. Parts of the walls and ceiling collapsed every time there was a large earthquake.
As Gartland had been created by and was supported by the gods who protected it, no large-scale cave-ins happened. However, that did not mean that cave-ins did not happen at all; on some occasions, several house-sized boulders would come falling down.
Up until now, such falling boulders had been dealt with by destroying them with spells or martial skills. However, if Vandalieu were to begin a large-scale tunnel-digging operation, it was possible that the ceiling would have cave-ins on a scale that could not be easily dealt with.
“I’ll be meticulously careful as I dig. I’ll consult with Povaz and the other gods at regular intervals, and keep an eye on the state of the ceiling and walls as I proceed,” said Vandalieu.
“I see. That is reassuring,” said Yurak.
As Yurak was being guided by Vandalieu, he believed his words immediately. He was aware that Vandalieu was capable of conversing directly with the gods, and he had learned that a number of Gartland’s inhabitants had received the mysterious Divine Protection of a being whose name had parts like “V,” “a,” “n,” “da,” “l,” and even “ieu.” Yurak himself had received such a divine protection as well.
“And as for the monsters that appear… I have no concerns about your ability to exterminate them, but please do not cause any large explosions. I shall provide you with our current records of what kind of monsters may appear,” Yurak said. “Also, just in case, please exterminate some of the monsters in our Dungeon, where there are the same kinds of monsters that will appear from within the earth, so that everyone can feel at ease.”
“Very well,” said Vandalieu.
And so, the operation to dig a tunnel from Gartland to reach Botin’s seal began.
“But before that, I want to visit the settlements of each race, so could you please write letters of recommendation for me?” Vandalieu asked.
Yurak was just the mayor of the town around the underground lake, not the leader of all of Gartland.
Since Vandalieu was about to begin an operation that would affect all of Gartland, he thought that it would be best to talk to the other important people here.
“If you wish to find Zorg-dono, the leader of the Snow Ice Titans, after watching the concert with me, he for some reason declared that he would have a drinking contest with Borkus-dono at the bar. And I have been told that the Androscorpion and Glaistig leaders will arrive in this town tomorrow,” said Yurak. “I believe it likely that they have been sent Divine Messages from the gods. We had noticed that something was taking place on the surface, after all.”
It seemed that the leaders would be coming here instead, and there was no need for Vandalieu and his companions to walk around and visit the other settlements.
Around the time that the excavation project in Gartland began, the capital of Duke Marme’s realm, one of the cities of the Amid Empire, was on fire, and its air was filled with its people’s screams.
The screams were screams of joy, however.
“Gold coins! It’s raining gold coins!”
“Pick them up! Hurry and pick them up!”
Haggard people wearing shabby clothes were frantically picking up the gold coins and gemstones raining down from the sky.
“I have plenty, so don’t fight each other over them. Here, I’m going to throw them this way now, so don’t stand right below,” said a woman wearing a veil over her face, who was floating in the air, scattering gold freely down below her.
The woman’s hair was hidden, but her physique suggested that she was a Dwarf. She was flying around the slum district, scattering gold as she went.
“Blessings, we’re blessed! Thank you so much!” cried one grateful resident.
But though some were thankful, there were others who were trying to shoot the Dwarf woman down with arrows – the guards who maintained order in the city.
“Damn it, hurry up and shoot her down!” one of them shouted.
“You thief, pretending to be all righteous! That gold is property of Duke Marme!” shouted another.
The guards fired arrows at the Dwarf woman, but their aim could not keep up with her dance-like movements; they buried themselves in the wall of the building behind her instead.
“I told you, the fact that it belongs to the duke is precisely why I’m scattering it around,” the woman said. “Hey, watch out! ‘Whirlwind Kick!’”
The Dwarf woman performed a kick that produced a gust of wind, blowing away the arrows that had been flying towards the people who were busy picking up the gold she was scattering.
The wind produced by her kick caused the guards to fall over and roll across the ground.
“That’s dangerous! If you’re going to aim at anyone, aim at me! If you don’t, I’ll kill you where you stand!” the Dwarf woman yelled, with anger and a murderous intent in her voice.
The captain of the guards made a terrified noise. “This force of presence… and that ‘Unarmed Fighting Technique’ martial skill! Could it be, the ‘Storm of Tyranny’ –”
“There’s no need to be nosy!” said Merdin of the ‘Storm of Tyranny’ as she sent another shockwave kick at the guards, just powerful enough to scatter them without killing them.
Meanwhile, some distance away from the slum district, a tragedy was unfolding at the church of Alda that faced the main street’s plaza.
A man whose body looked like a single mass of solid muscle was holding the church’s head priest in the air by the neck with one hand, and he was surrounded by a group of priest-warriors.
“Impossible! Why, why is the sacred light not working?!” one of them shouted in disbelief.
“Is he really a Vampire?! He’s not a Kijin or a Titan?!” shouted another.
“Oh dear. How impolite of you to accuse a guest of being a member of a different race. As you can see, I am but an ordinary Vampire,” said Zod – otherwise known as Zorcodrio, the Abyssal Pure-breed Vampire – as he crushed the head priest’s neck in his hand.
His smile grew deeper as fresh blood sprayed into the air.
“H-how dare you do such a thing to the head priest!” one of the priest-warriors shouted in rage.
“Fool! Don’t get near him!” one of his companions warned.
But the enraged priest-warrior charged at Zod, mace raised. “‘Super Rapid Reaction!’ ‘Surpass Limits!’ ‘Familiar Spirit Descent!’ ‘Heavy Strength Breaker!’ Die, you filthy monster!”
With his physical abilities enhanced by his ‘Armor Technique’ martial skill and the effects of his Skills, as well as the familiar spirit descended upon him, the priest-warrior activated his ‘Club Technique’ Skill and swung his mace down.
The mace sank into Zod’s body. The priest-warrior smiled, believing that he had done it.
But the damage inflicted by this all-out attack was nothing more than a scratch to Zod.
“A formidable strike, considering that it has done damage to my body,” Zod remarked.
The priest-warrior’s eyes opened wide in shock, and the blood drained from his face.
“Damn it! Attack him with whatever you can! Create an opportunity for him to get out!” shouted one of the other men, who appeared to be the leader of the priest-warriors, desperately trying to save his subordinate.
Zod’s body trembled as it was struck by the ‘Air Bullet’ projectiles cast by the priest-warriors.
The priest-warriors took this as a sign that their attacks were working, and the priest-warrior who had swung his mace at Zod earlier, seeing his opportunity, began running to fall back.
“‘Filthy monster’… You people are the ones who oppress and sometimes even kill others, even if they are pregnant women or young children, simply because they are of different races, and yet I am the filthy monster… Very well,” Zod murmured.
The trembling movements of his body grew faster and larger. When pale blue sparks began to appear, the priest-warriors realized that his trembling had been a preparation for an attack.
“Then I shall show you what a monster can do! ‘God’s Roar!’” Zod shouted in rage, using his ‘Muscle Technique’ and unleashing powerful lightning from his muscles.
The lightning contained enough power to pierce the defensive spells and armor of the priest-warriors, turning their bodies into ash.
Zorcodrio was a Pure-breed Vampire… and a demigod who had lived for a hundred thousand years. He possessed power equivalent to that of Colossi, Elder Dragons, and Beast-Kings.
On top of that, he had mutated into an Abyssal Pure-breed Vampire by consuming Vandalieu’s blood. No ordinary mortals, no matter how elite they were, stood a chance against him.
In the treasure house of the church, which had been set ablaze by Zod’s lightning, there was a masked man and woman… Dalton, a Dark Elf, and Lissana, an Elf who was the reincarnated form of Jurizanapipe, the Evil God of Degeneration and Intoxication.
“Zod is going pretty wild,” Dalton said as the pair searched for the thing that they had come here for. “You’d think he’d calm down a little after getting a wife and child, but don’t you think his boiling point has actually gotten lower?”
“I’m sure he’s thinking, what if those who were killed were his own wife and children?” said Lissana. “It’s nice and human-like, isn’t it… it’s not good that he seems to be forgetting why we’re here, though.”
“Human-like, huh… There were so many humans here, and I don’t think any of them thought like that when they killed members of other races, did they?” Dalton said in disgust.
“That’s human-like too. In a bad way, though. Well, they are humans, after all,” said Lissana as she continued searching for the object they sought.
She threw chests filled with gems and gold coins into her Magic Bag, and examined paintings and sculptures a little before throwing them in as well.
“Aren’t you forgetting our objective as well?” said Dalton, giving her an accusatory look.
“No, I’m not! It’s just, don’t you think that it would be a waste for these to be buried here with the rubble?” said Lissana, avoiding making eye contact with Dalton. “Ah, I found it!” she said, finally discovering the mechanism that opened an entrance to a secret chamber.
“I guess the head priest of this place didn’t want to put it along with the riches he’d been hoarding. Let’s see… just one fragment, huh. A pretty poor haul,” Dalton sighed.
“There are three sealed evil gods, too. Let’s just take the fragment with us. The seals look like they’ll break if we move them.”
“Are you sure? What if they’re actually on Vida’s side?”
“Hmm… There’s no chance of that. I checked; all three of them were in the Demon King’s army. I mean, it’s possible that we could convince them to join us, but it would take a lot of effort to seal them up again if we tried and failed, and Vandalieu isn’t here.”
And so, with just the sealed Demon King fragment in hand, the two of them left the crumbling church of Alda.
But the house of Duke Marme, who ruled this land in the name of the emperor, did not stay silent over such great crimes – One was taking place at another location, and knights were on the scene in response.
They were forcibly silenced by a certain masked man, one by one.
“You bastard! Curse –” one of them began, but in the next moment, the masked man’s fist crushed his skull.
“You lowly adventurer – ” shouted another, before the masked man tore through his chest with an overarm swing.
“Spare me! I’ll pay you as much as you – ” said a third, begging for his life as he tried to flee.
The masked man swept his legs out from under him and then crushed him underfoot.
But it seemed that the knights were aware of the masked man’s identity.
“Th-the ‘Thunderclap’ Schneider! Do you think these actions will be forgiven, even from you?!” shouted the man who seemed to be the captain of Duke Marme’s order of knights.
Schneider gave a snort. “If they won’t be forgiven, then what? Are you going to capture me, put me in prison and then execute me in public?” he said tauntingly.
“Damn it! Y-you bastard…!” the knight captain cursed, unable to say anything in response.
After all, Schneider was currently causing all of this chaos right inside Duke Marme’s mansion.
The ‘Storm of Tyranny’ had not conducted any surprise attack. They had shown up, without hiding, and simply assaulted their targets through their front entrances.
Schneider had knocked out the guards, broken down the door, cast a torrent of spells upon the garden, then slaughtered the knights who had come out.
Those were the events leading up to this point.
Naturally, the knights and mages had tried to stop Schneider… or putting it more bluntly, tried to kill him, but their efforts had ended in failure.
Even with the mages and knights in formation, raining spells and arrows fired with ‘Archery’ martial skills, and even with bodyguards who were former A-class adventurers attacking him simultaneously, they had been unable to stop Schneider.
Weak laws are meaningless in the face of overwhelming violence, the knight captain thought in the back of his mind.
Elite adventurers possessed strength in battle that could not be matched even by large groups of ordinary humans. ‘Strength in numbers’ was a common-sense rule in battle, but it did not apply to such adventurers.
If such adventurers were to commit a crime, how were authorities supposed to capture and punish them? Many had pondered this question in the past.
This was achieved by the authorities having similar military might on their side, through coordination with the Adventurers’ Guild, through rewarding capable adventurers with high positions in society, and integrating adventurers into the establishment. Naturally, such measures had been taken in Duke Marme’s domain as well.
But the former A-class adventurers that served as bodyguards at the mansion had been defeated by Schneider, achieving nothing other than buying a little time. A messenger had been sent to the Adventurers’ Guild to request the aid of any available adventurers, but there were no signs of any reinforcements coming.
And it had widely been considered that Schneider and his companions had already been successfully integrated into the establishment.
“W-why is someone like you, who has been blessed with Alda’s love, acting like a complete outlaw?! If there was something you were dissatisfied with, if you felt some discontent for the world, then you should express it not with violence, but with words, in the world of law!” the knight captain shouted.
“Enough! I’ve been a follower of Vida since before I turned twenty! I’m about to voice my discontent with the world right now, about the insanity of the teachings of Alda, the God of Law and Fate!” said Schneider.
“W-what?!” the knight captain exclaimed with his mouth wide open in shock at this revelation.
Schneider had shown a considerable amount of savagery in the Amid Empire, such as beating a nobleman he didn’t like to death on the main street of a city, but even then, nobody had thought that he was a follower of Vida.
After all, he had always been the first to accept commissions to exterminate members of dangerous races created by Vida, such as Majin and Lamia, and the previous pope of the Great Church of Alda had received three messages warning that Schneider could be in danger.
The truth was that Schneider had always been the first to accept the requests to exterminate Majin and Lamia so that he could help them escape, and the Divine Messages received by the previous pope stating, ‘Schneider is in danger,’ were actually warnings: ‘Schneider is dangerous.’
“Ah, I feel so free now. I don’t have to do any more bothersome things like donating to the Church of Alda every year or pretending to pray at churches at harvest festivals and events. Phew! It’s a real pain, pretending to be religiously devout. The stress has aged me so much, but I can finally feel the weight off my shoulders,” Schneider said, now in a visibly good mood, stretching his shoulders as if to show how much relief he felt.
There was no doubt that he was beaming under the mask he was wearing.
“Now then, let’s get on with it and –”
“Wait, Schneider! Look at this!” shouted another knight, stepping between Schneider and the knight captain, holding something in his arms.
The object in his arms was… a young rabbit-type Beast-kin girl, and he was holding a sword to her neck.
“If you want this girl’s life to be spared, surrender and put yourself in a cursed collar!” the knight demanded.
There were special slave collars created for punishing adventurers of A-class or above who had committed great crimes.
The human and economic costs for creating such collars were great, so only large nations could afford to build them. In addition, the criminal needed to sign a contract agreeing to be cursed of their own free will… in other words, they could not be forced into wearing the collar by threats or by being drugged. Thus, such collars were of little practical use.
However, there was such a collar in the house of Duke Marme, as he was a nobleman of the large nation that was the Amid Empire. If Schneider were to wear it, even Schneider would become a mere prisoner.
“You bastard, what are you thinking –” the knight captain began, shouting at his subordinate.
“Captain, please be quiet!” the knight said, cutting him off. “What’s the matter, Schneider! Should I cut off this girl’s annoying ears first?!”
“N-no! Help, please help me!” the girl screamed in terror.
“Why don’t you give it a try? While you’re at it, you might as well just cut them both off at once,” said Schneider, making a gesture – one hand in a fist, as if holding the ears together, and the other making a slicing motion underneath.
“W-what?!” the knight exclaimed, his eyes wide open in shock at Schneider’s response.
“You can’t do it? Then I suppose I’ll do it for you,” said Schneider.
In a single instant, Schneider closed the gap between himself and the knight who was holding the girl, and swung his arm.
Using a ‘Swordsmanship’ martial skill, Schneider performed a hand chop that tore through the knight and the girl.
However, what came from the mouth of the little rabbit-type Beast-kin girl was not a high-pitched scream, but the dying cry of an obese man. Before the girl’s corpse hit the ground, it had transformed into the body of a human man holding a black dagger.
“H-how did you know…?” whispered the knight, whose now-open chest was leaking a tremendous amount of blood.
“It looks like you tried your best with the illusionary spell, but I couldn’t smell the body scent of a rabbit-type Beast-kin,” Schneider said nonchalantly. “And when you came running over, her breasts weren’t bouncing at all, despite being so big. Foolish youngster, just how many years do you think I’ve been a woman-lover?”
It had been a do-or-die plan, using an illusion to disguise the appearance and even the voice of his companion. Even if the knight had been killed, the disguised companion would kill Schneider with a cursed dagger. And yet, for the outrageous reason that Schneider had described, he had seen through this plan.
“Pointless,” the knight whispered as he collapsed onto the ground.
“You fool… This man is not someone you can fool with such a plan. But you did well. You bought more than ten seconds against the ‘Thunderclap’ Schneider,” the knight captain said, drawing his sword. “Now, it is my turn! Face me, Schneider!”
“No, I don’t really care about you. I’ve already killed the guy I was planning to kill,” said Schneider.
The knight captain was standing there, ready to stop Schneider at the cost of his own life, but Schneider raised a hand in farewell.
“I mean, we’ve already achieved our goal. The brat of that big baby, the new duke, escaped ages ago, so there’s no need for you to put your life on the line to buy time,” Schneider said. “Pick up those unconscious youngsters over there and get yourself somewhere safe… Wait, no, I suppose I just need to leave.”
With that, Schneider turned his back on the knight captain and began to walk away.
“What is the meaning of this! They’re alive?!” the knight captain said, realizing that his knights were bleeding heavily with their chests torn open, but still alive and merely unconscious. “You’re letting us go? Are you taking pity on us?!” he shouted at Schneider, while hurriedly applying Potions to the wounded knights.
“Don’t misunderstand,” said Schneider. “Our current sponsor is strict about who we kill. He wants us to make all efforts to avoid collateral damage, and to not kill people unless there is a reason that makes it necessary to kill them – and those instructions apply even though we were attacking the residence of a duke of the Amid Empire and the Church of Alda. But the decision of what a ‘reason that makes it necessary to kill’ and what isn’t is entirely at our discretion, so we accepted those instructions. Your role was just to remonstrate the foolish actions of your predecessor, and these youngsters look like they’re newbies and they probably haven’t done anything too terrible yet, so there’s no need to kill you.”
The head priest and priest-warriors at the church of Alda had been filling their own coffers while persecuting vulnerable members of Vida’s races, so Zod had killed them.
The guards were likely just following the orders given by their superiors, so they wouldn’t be killed for now.
The knights Schneider had killed were those belonging to another order of knights who had previously burned down entire settlements of races created by Vida, so that was why he had killed them.
He had killed other knights, nobles, and mages for similar reasons, and the ones he had only beaten half-to-death were those he had spared because there was no reason to kill them.
Schneider walked down a corridor of the mansion that was occupied only by unconscious enemies, and let out a groan as he heard a large, echoing sound from the other side of the hole in the mansion’s outer wall that he had created.
“That Zod, he’s gone and brought down the thunder. I don’t care about the church being destroyed, but I hope there aren’t any fires,” he murmured to himself. “‘God Iron Form,’ ‘Flame Iron Arms,’” he said a second later, suddenly activating an ‘Armor Technique’ martial skill and casting a spell to strengthen his arms.
In the next moment, a blast of wind tore through the air and ripped a straight, line-shaped wound into his arms.
A middle-aged man holding a longsword in one hand suddenly appeared before Schneider.
“… You’re just as absurd as usual, to have received only a scratch from a blow from my sword on your bare skin,” he said.
“To be able to put a scratch on me without even using a martial skill. Who’s the absurd one here? If I recall, you’re the Fourth Sword now?” said Schneider.
“The absurd one is clearly you. Your appearance hasn’t changed a bit since I was the Tenth Sword. I was sure that you’re not a human, but it turns out that you’re the only ordinary person in your party. What’s the meaning of that?”
The middle-aged man was one of the Fifteen Evil-Breaking Swords, the secret force that served the Amid Empire. The ‘Beheading Shadow’ Leonardo.
He was the man who had served as one of the Fifteen Blades the longest among the current members, with the exception of the Zero Sword, their commander.
“The only ordinary person?” Schneider repeated. “Merdin is a Dwarf and Lissana is an Elf. And you should count Dark Elves among people too, you damn Alda-worshipper… Well, I do understand why you wouldn’t want to count Zod as an ordinary person, though.”
“Nonsense. I know that girl is not an Elf. We have simply been letting you swim,” said Leonardo.
“Hah! You had no pole to catch us with, and you say that you were letting us swim? How about you be honest and just admit that you just sucked on your thumbs and watched us because you couldn’t deal with us, you narrow-minded old man?”
“Hmph, don’t raise your voice with me. It seems that you’ve become less patient and more aggressive with age despite trying to look younger than you are, you geezer. Perhaps you could have gotten away with attacking a baron or a viscount, but you have attacked the house of a duke, someone who is in line to the imperial throne. There will be consequences. You understand that, don’t you?”
What Leonardo referred to was… Schneider and his party would not only be expelled from the Adventurers’ Guild with bounties placed on their heads, but the lives of those with deep ties to them would be endangered as well.
The Fifteen Evil-breaking Swords possessed information on Schneider’s women, children, friends, and acquaintances that even the Adventurers’ Guild didn’t know of.
However, Schneider and his companions were aware of that.
“Yeah, go ahead and try… I don’t know if you’d be able to cross that mountain range, though,” Schneider said.
Those with deep ties to Schneider and his companions had already moved to the Demon Empire of Vidal, in the region inside the Boundary Mountain Range, out of the Amid Empire’s reach.
Leonardo made a bitter expression and clicked his tongue. “I suppose the subordinates that were making regular reports to us on your movements joined your side.”
“I suppose so,” said Schneider. “Ah, are they going to label everyone whose face I know as someone who is connected to me and hang them? If so, there’s an old acquaintance of mine right in front of me now, so I could give them a hand.”
“No, things will not come to that!”
Schneider and Leonardo both activated martial skills – ‘Super Rapid Reaction,’ ‘Lightning Thrust,’ ‘Eight Shadow Slice’ – as their shadows crossed. Shockwaves tore the walls of the mansion apart, the floor crumbled, and pieces of rubble flew into the surroundings as if there had been an explosion.
“You were after the Demon King equipment kept by the duke’s house and the fragment at the church, huh,” Leonardo muttered.
Beneath Schneider’s cloak was one of the pieces of Demon King equipment that had been kept hidden at the mansion.
“How unfortunate it is that you only obtained one of the three pieces of equipment. I have recovered the other two. Most of the fragments at the church were moved to the Great Church at the new pope’s orders, too,” Leonardo said. “I suppose all that’s left for you to do is release the members of Vida’s races that were enslaved by the duke and his men on false charges and accusations.”
“You’re wrong,” said Schneider. “Our objective is to free the members of Vida’s races that the duke and his ilk enslaved by abusing his power! Then comes the killing! Gathering Demon King fragments and equipment is just something we are doing while we’re at it!”
Leonardo’s eyes opened a little wider in surprise; he had been convinced that the new Demon King Vandalieu had ordered Schneider to gather Demon King fragments.
“Well then, see you later! I’m going to quit while I’m ahead!” said Schneider.
With that, he began running away at full speed. He had already achieved his goal, and the members of Vida’s races that he had saved were in a safe place.
Thus, there was no point in fighting in a one-on-one battle against a powerful enemy.
As Schneider dashed away from the scene, truly as fast as his ‘Thunderclap’ Title suggested, Leonardo began giving chase, but he decided that chasing too far was unwise and stopped.
“Even I wouldn’t be able to fight five enemies at once. His Majesty the Emperor… the new emperor warned me not to chase too far, too,” he murmured to himself.
The current emperor was still Marshukzarl. However, the power he wielded as emperor was already leaving his hands.
The Fifteen Evil-breaking Swords already served a new emperor. That new emperor was a puppet of Eileek, the new Pope of the Great Church of Alda, and Eileek himself was a puppet of the gods. That much was clear to Leonardo, but…
“Those like Ervine would have likely sided with Marshukzarl, but that doesn’t matter to me. And my current position gives me more worthy foes to cut down,” he told himself as he ran his tongue along his longsword, licking Schneider’s blood from the blade.