Mondaiji-tachi ga isekai kara kuru soudesu yo:Volume 10 Chapter 1
Fueled by the night wind the forest was burning relentlessly. On the highway leading away from Kouen City, refugees scrambled for safety without any resemblance of order. Nevertheless the royal guards of Salamandra tried their best to advance the evacuation. However, they were still unaware.
The Astral Gate, their only possible escape route, was already destroyed by the Demon Lord Maxwell. If that fact were to spread around, the chaos caused by the refugees would lead to a situation beyond repair.
At the very end of that chaotic line.
Kasukabe Yō, who was tasked with the duty of a rear guard, gritted her teeth in anger and stared at the assaulting Maxwell.
(That was the worst possible move for us.....! With the Astral Gate destroyed, there is nowhere to run....!)
However, that wasn't the only bad thing that happened.
She desperately tried to force her lower body to move and get up, but her legs showed no signs of moving. Every time she breathed in, her lungs were assailed by a squeezing sensation, and also the tip of her fingers and tongue became numb.
She remembered these sensations. Most likely her body was returning to the state before she received the Genome Tree from her father.
(What should I do ....!!? If I become unable to fight, there is no one else.....)
The Great Garuda
By imitating one from the strongest class of Divine Birds, Kasukabe Yō was able to use its form's overwhelming offensive power to destroy the offshoot of Aži Dakāha. However, as if by compensation, her body reverted back to the time when she was still sickly and weak. With this, her combat ability has decreased below not only the level of a Demon Lord, but an ordinary human being too.
Gritting her teeth, Yō looked up to the twin-tailed young girl standing in front of her.
The girl, Willa the Ignis Fatuus, still had hints of childishness yet remaining in her facial features. She took an intimidating posture with both her arms extended sideways to try and protect Yō.
Maxwell looked down on her with eyes certain of victory, fluttered his mantle and extended his hand towards her.
"It is time to decide, my bride. Will you come with me to help the refugees escape, or abandon the refugees and come with me!! Choose whichever you wish!!"
Willa was scared to the brink of tears. However she didn't let her will to fight fade.
Now that Kasukabe Yō collapsed, she was the only one that could protect this place. No matter how terrifyingly perverted the opponent was, this time she could not run away.
Willa looked behind herself to the weakening Yō and her eyes twitched. Maxwell was a powerful adversary, barely matched by both Yō and Willa together in their perfect condition. Essential she may be, but it was obvious even to a simple bystander that something happened to Yō's body. The results of Willa fighting alone was easily predictable.
(Even if I fight with Maxwell....I can't help everyone escape.......!)
She started shivering and getting paler and paler.
With her power to transcend the boundary between life and death she can't teleport people or any living things. Or rather, to be precise it's possible to teleport someone, but since she doesn't have enough power to keep the gate open, she can't guarantee their survival. The only ones able to traverse the gate between life and death and live are divine spirits above the god of death level.
On the other hand Maxwell's teleportation jumps between two points in the same material plane. For the purpose of summoning a large group of giants instantly, that ability is far the best suited.
He could evacuate the refugees without needing to use the now destroyed Astral Gate. But for that....... Willa needed to give her body up to that Stalker. Even thinking about that was dreadful for her, her body quivered at the thought of it.
She took out a Gift Card with a blue flame engraved on it, and bit her lip.
Willa had the appearance of a young girl, but she was the leader of her Community.
When she was pressed to decide, even if every single hair on her body was standing up from that frightful negotiation, she had to respond. Moreover, it was also about saving a member of their alliance with the No-names.
There was more than enough reason for her to steel her resolve.
"......Maxwell. If I come with you ....... will you really.... everyone"
Yō and Willa suddenly raised their heads.
In that instant, a bolt of lightning sprung forward.
From the shade of the forest, a bolt of lightning sprung forward expanding the atmosphere from the frictional heat, accompanied by a thundering roar. The lightning fast strike targeted the floating Maxwell and rushed towards him in a straight line.
The strike caught him entirely by surprise. Without giving enough time to even change the direction of his gaze, Maxwell, who was already drunk on victory, had his side gouged by Almathea's horns.
However Almathea didn't hold off on her next attack.
"It was a clean hit...! Master, the follow up!"
"I know that!"
At the same time she shouted that response, she pulled out three gemstones from her wine-red Gift Card.
Asuka brandished her flute, and with that, the gemstones have been granted pseudo-divinity, which heightened their firepower to the maximum. The gemstones became an orb of light that shred Maxwell's limbs and penetrated his body. His whole right side and left lower body was obliterated by their attack; however, that was not yet the end of the follow-up.
Contained within the pelt of the divine beast was a dazzling bolt of lightning.
The divine bolt of lightning that rivaled the Thunder of the God of the Sky begin to disintegrate the opponent on the molecular level.
Maxwell was hit by a lightning that erased even the rain of blood in an instant, however he only looked down on them like he was seeing insects and emotionlessly declared.
"....with such a low level of heat, do you think you could contain the heat of my love?"
Maxwell's body was without a doubt vaporized by the same flames of pseudo-divinity that destroyed the twin-headed dragons. In spite of that, his body started to repair itself in an instant by gathering up the mist.
It was a strike that should have obviously ended his life. However Maxwell looked like he was only hit by a cool breeze as he moved his empty gaze towards Asuka. That wasn't him just acting though at all.
Even as the divine bolt of lightning was coursing through his body he still didn't feel pain from it.
"This ...., Master, please hold on to me! I will put some distance between us for now."
Almatheia, who sensed the danger, kicked Maxwell away with her hooves and disengaged. Even during that time, Maxwell was repairing his damaged body and after a few seconds, he was fully restored.
This was different from the powers of recovery of a Divine Spirit, or even Kouryuu's ultra-endurance. Almatheia shook her horns with which she ran Maxwell through before, and started to ponder the mystery of Maxwell's body.
Maxwell's Demon's Spiritual power was created based on a scientific thought experiment pointing out a contradiction in the second law of thermodynamics.
We assume the existence of a being "X" that is able to observe the movement of individual molecules. Then that "X" will be a being capable of isolating positive and negative molecules to distinct parts of space, creating a temperature difference without expending any energy. His space jump is nothing more than a small part of the ability he is using to isolate molecules.
The most terrifying Gift of Maxwell's Demon is its permanency. However Maxwell's Demon's spiritual power was once rescinded, which should've left him as a low-ranking demon that conforms to the second law of thermodynamics. There is no telling how much energy his spiritual power consists of, but the manifested heat that was maximized by the power of the pseudo-divinities was among the highest class of physical phenomenon. However, even after Maxwell was hit by that heat, his spiritual power showed no signs of weakening.
(He has no physical body like a Spirit ......? No, as a law, a Spirit's spiritual power must be rooted in a physically existing mass or heat source. Therefore, even if he has no physical form, he shouldn't be able to keep his form when hit by an energy that surpasses his spiritual power.)
So that means Maxwell's powers of restoration must be some kind of regeneration ability, masquerading as immortality. If they continue to blast him directly with Asuka's most powerful attacks, they should be able to kill him in time.
On the other hand, the uninjured Maxwell made a gesture of brushing dust off his mantle; then, like he lost interest, he looked down on them with an emotionless gaze.
"Hhn .... it looks like not even a Divine Beast could discern my spiritual power. Well, an out of date decrepit god such as yourself could never hope to match a cutting edge Demon Lord like myself."
"..... a youngling who only lived a few hundred years sure can talk. Looks like you gained a bit of a raison d'etre, but in Little Garden, spiritual power not just determines how powerful you are. Do you think you could destroy us, who watched over all of human history, with a pitiful few hundred years worth of spiritual power."
She neighed, puffed and kicked in refusal.
In Little Garden, the longer someone existed, the stronger their spiritual power became. Rather than a Gift it was a basic law that was needed so Little Garden could exist across every time period.
That being said, with all those chronologies existing in the same time, investigating the ancestry of those cultures will certainly yield some kind of discrepancy in the order of events.
If two different entities clashed and the older one ceased to exist, then that could cause the collapse of the entire history of the outside world.
To guard against such a substantial paradox, both on the small and large scale, one of the countermeasures was the Gift of "the longer a spiritual being lived it gained more power".
Even if an older being did cease to exist after all, in exceptional cases re-summoning, or in other words revival, could be performed. Whether the re-summoned would be the person who ceased to exist, or someone else with a different potential, would depend entirely on the whims of the person who performed the re-summoning.
"Maxwell. Your immortality is not caused by Little Garden's Backup System. Learning that was plenty valuable. If we decipher the method of killing you, all it will take is a single strike to erase your spiritual power. Am I wrong, Maxwell's Paradox?"
There is nothing simpler than killing a Demon Lord whose weakness is known.
Between Asuka's Gift and Maxwell's spiritual power, Asuka most definitely had the upper hand. However, as a denial of her train of thought, Maxwell was trying to hold back a sneer.
"Kuku..... that's why you are a decrepit god, you uneducated bitch"
"Don't think that your group of gods will always remain the victors. At the least, there will be no place left for you to exist in the new age created by the Demon Lord Alliance!"
Maxwell widened both his eyes, spread his arms, and materialized a massive blizzard covering the area.
Asuka and the others feared that he wanted to eliminate everyone including the refugees, but that man's cruelty far exceeded their expectations.
"Summon, "Phrase Gate" ― From Hell's Furnace, come forth! Heralds of the Three Headed Dragon!"
"What did you just say!?", screamed Asuka while holding down her hair in the middle of the blizzard.
However her scream was drown out by further wails.
The field of vision was very low, but outside the massive blizzard a tremor-like trampling of feet could be heard.
And not just one or two pairs.
The tremors could be heard from every direction, many dozen sounds overlapping and heading towards the refugees. From the menacing presence that each and every one gave off, the weakened Yō's expression became paler and paler.
"Aži Dakāha's offshoots........!? That's bad, if they attack now we are all dead!"
"Maxwell, stop! I will fulfill your demands, just help Yō and the others escape!"
Pleaded Willa with a sorrowful voice.
She looked up at Maxwell with dread in her eyes.
Maxwell looked down on her, with an affectionate smile appearing on his face, and said.
"Not good enough"
"I was just thinking about it a bit more calmly. Your attitude is a bit too callous. Well, I understand that's just another way you express your love for me. Humans have a word for this, tsundere, right? Even I know about it. If I'm not mistaken ..... it's an expression of love where someone shows a defiant attitude, but even if they get hit, deep down they are crazy about the man and want to be dominated by him. That's not too bad either....., but I would like a more direct and straightforward expression of love."
―My bride will certainly understand without the need to explain it, right?
Maxwell was speaking like they were in relationship where words are not needed anymore. In a nonchalant voice he requested those words he wanted to hear the most, like it was from a spouse that says it every day.
"Once moreeee, Willa! Let me hear it once more, my bride. The words of your vow. As my partner, speak softly of your eternal love for me! With your hands together, like a prayer to God, say your oath Willa the Ignis Fatuus!!!"
*Biku*, her body winced in pain.
The intimidated Willa went paler and her eyes started to water as she started to kneel. She was well aware of the madness of the intoxicated Maxwell, but he was even more of a threat this time. The usual facade of a gentlemen was gone and he spoke with a frenzied tone and was approaching Willa with bloodshot eyes.
One reason for that was the fact that he was certain of his victory, but this was also his true nature. He would subdue and force to kneel even the target of his devotion and interpret any irksome words and actions as he saw fit.
He didn't need the consent of the other party to fulfill his desire. Something like that should not come between them.
A dictator, where everyone around him is only a servant.
That is the true nature of the Demon Lord Maxwell.
"....this guy, really is the worst...!"
Asuka was listening to their exchange while gritting her teeth.
As a woman, the words and actions of Maxwell were more than enough to be furious about, but she also wasn't foolish enough to not understand the situation.
Smoke was coming up on the other end of the main road. A sudden sound of explosion and Willa and Maxwell's exchange.
'The Astral Gate was destroyed', it didn't take that much time for Asuka to reach that conclusion.
(I can't let this bastard have Willa-san, but .....!!)
She side-glanced towards Yō. In this situation, it wouldn't have been strange for the caring Yō to have launched a suicide attack already. And yet, both her legs looked abnormally weak and showed no signs of moving. Something must have happened to her too, realized Asuka immediately.
(Aži Dakāha is of course unnerving, but I worry about Kuro Usagi, Pest and the others too. Are those two not here.....?)
She looked for Kuro Usagi and the others in the massive blizzard.
Kuro Usagi was entrusted to the palace guard of Salamandra, but now that the twin-headed dragons attacked in force, it's more dangerous to be apart.
As the situation grew more and more complicated, Willa started to say her oath quietly.
"In-....... In health and ..... sickness, "
"Louder, Once MORE!!!"
She put her hands together in front her ample breasts, but her frightened childlike face was covered in tears, and the words of her vow that she desperately managed to vocalize sounded hollow.
Anxiety, terror, and sadness drove Willa into a corner and left her in confusion.
Maxwell got irritated by Willa's never-ending indecisiveness, clicked his tongue and swung his right hand.
"Dear oh dear, ...... a troublesome bride you are. It seems you can't make up your mind without some sacrifices."
His thrown out right hand swayed and shimmered from heat. A shadow appeared in the blizzard, slowly and steadily started to resemble the shape of a human being, then suddenly grew to have the mass of a single person.
Everyone's expression froze when they saw the person that appeared in the shadow with a shimmer of hot air.
"Ku.....Kuro Usagi!?", cried out Asuka with agitation.
Kuro Usagi should've evacuated with Pest already, but to Maxwell, who could freely use the Space Jump ability, that distance was virtually non-existent.
The perplexed Kuro Usagi blinked twice, realized that she is being held by Maxwell in his arms, and understood the predicament she was in.
"Ma-Maxwell.....!!? Asuka-san and Yō-san as well!"
"Welcome, Moonchild-dono. Please forgive me for calling on you in such a situation."
With a courteous smile Maxwell restrained Kuro Usagi.
Asuka already learned to sense the danger behind that crazed expression, and realized that this isn't the time to be contemplating the situation. She had to make a move now ― or Kuro Usagi's life was in danger.
"Just do it, fast!!!"
Since there wasn't any time to lose, Asuka shouted those words while she took out Hamelin's Windcutter Flute from her Gift Card. Since the situation was what it was Alma hesitated a bit, but she couldn't disobey her Master either. Alma turned her whole body into lightning and started galloping, kicking the ground firmly with her hooves.
Tracks of lightning extended from the ground in a spiral.
Due to the power of the three pseudo-divinity, Almatheia became the Lightning of the Heavens, and started closing in on the Demon Lord Maxwell emanating even more heat than before. Thunderbolts roared in the thermally expanded air and shook the veil of darkness. The torrent of power comparable to the power of Vajra will most probably burn away the whole area, leaving only the scorched earth in its wake.
If they fight, then it has to be a one-hit kill. With that resolve, Alma unleashed all the spirit power that was bestowed upon her, and from the impregnable fortress she transformed into a single bolt of thunder.
"Demon Lord Maxwell, prepare yourself!!"
A hit too fast for eyes to see. Avoiding Kuro Usagi, the target was a single point on the cranium. An attack with all the most powerful Gifts Kudou Asuka could prepare ―
Pachin! With a soft noise it was all nullified.
Alma's power suddenly disappeared with no warning. After losing her divine powers she tried to complete the attack using her momentum anyway, however she was easily dodged, and with the same speed, she broke through the forest and tumbled across the ground.
"Ma-Master! Are you all right!?"
Alma ended up landing with rolling around unsightly, but thinking about her Master's safety she got up immediately. That was the time she finally noticed that something is not right.
Her frail and delicate Master who was clinging to her back ― Kudou Asuka was nowhere to be seen. Thinking she must have fell off, Alma immediately looked around the area, but she wasn't anywhere near.
Asuka disappeared like mist.
The only thing on the ground was Asuka's wine red Gift Card that contained all her Gifts. The terrified Alma looked up at Maxwell and howled.
"N-no ..... you Bastard!! Where is my Master!?"
"Who knows. Anyhow, since it happened so suddenly. Maybe she landed in the sea, or maybe stranded in some mountains. Well, the order was just changed up a little. It really doesn't matter."
Maxwell was really speaking over his shoulder like he doesn't care one bit.
However the hopelessness that struck the No-Names was unfathomable.
Kudou Asuka was an incredibly resourceful girl, but her body was no different from a normal human's. She was accompanied by such powerful Gifts like the Sacred Rare-Metal Giant and Adamantite Divine Beast, but alone her power is not that great.
And she was cast out to the vast Little Garden in a situation exactly like that.
A sure-win method that is very much like exile.
"Wha.......what did you do....!!!", said Kuro Usagi in a trembling voice and stared at Maxwell.
She never felt this downhearted about her powerlessness. If she was in her best condition right now, she would've already drove the Spear of Certain Victory into him.
With all her might, she tried to put up resistance against Maxwell's arm, but her physical ability is decreased to the level of an ordinary girl. No matter how much strength she puts into it, the restraints won't ever come loose.
Now that it has come to this, she looked down towards Yō and Willa and pleaded with them.
"Yō-san! Willa-san! Please don't mind Kuro Usagi and defeat this scoundrel! With two of you together, surely― !!!"
Patan, the sound of finger snapping. And with that Kuro Usagi was suddenly gone. She hasn't even left an afterimage, as if spirited away, she just suddenly vanished.
No need to explain what just happened.
Just the same, Kuro Usagi was also cast out to the vast Little Garden.
As a normal, powerless girl, who lost all her spirit power.
"It's a shame I had to do that. This is also your fault, Willa. If only you would've responded faster, it wouldn't have come to this."
Talk about blaming someone else for your own faults. However Maxwell was honestly thinking like that.
When that demonic hand started nearing Yō, the shaking Willa stood in front of her.
"S-stop.....! I-I will do as you say, so ...... !!!"
Willa knew Yō's condition was bad, so she gathered every bit of her courage and defended her.
On the other hand Yō could only lay on the ground and watch as the events unfolded.
She hasn't even regained the feeling in her non-functioning legs yet.
Not only she lost her battle prowess, but her healthy body as well.
Her first friends, the proofs of those friendships, the Gifts ..... all the treasures she supposed to have gained, everything was falling out of her grasp before she could even think about it.
The single memento that she still had of her father, the Genome Tree, at the moment was nothing more than a simple wooden carving.
(Shit....shit, shit!!! Why can't I move my legs in such a crucial time.....)
She felt the harshness of reality crawl up her non-moving legs. Strength wasn't the only thing she lost. Her important friends. The times she would spend with those comrades, who were just like family to her. Everything she wished for was disappearing before her, like a single night's fleeting dream.
She almost wanted to cry.
Her cheeks slowly got wet from frustration.
Seeing her glittering cheeks, Maxwell started laughing so hard his abdominal muscles were shaking.
"Ha.....hahahahaha!!! You cry from frustration from something like losing your comrades! You cry from frustration!!? But the humiliation I received from your father was much more than this!"
She shouted the loudest she could. Her weakened body started coughing and convulsing in reaction to that.
She hated showing weakness to this vicious man, but what she hated much more was how he said "something like" to losing her comrades, belittling it.
It doesn't matter if the Genome Tree doesn't work.
If her legs would work at least, she would attack him even if that meant death, just to show defiance. However neither of her legs moved, not even an inch, like they were tied down by chains.
That feeling of powerlessness and sadness turned to tears and started falling.
She had no ability to fight, or to show her will to fight back, she was just laying there like a corpse.
Yō bit her flowing tears, wondering if she ever felt so humiliated in her life before as they hit the ground.
"Fufu.....now that this pleasant experience is over, should we go, my bride?"
Seeing the humiliated Yō and the quivering Willa, Maxwell showed an expression that was both ecstatic and furious. From their surroundings, the tremors caused by the twin-headed dragons and the wails of beasts could be heard.
Now that the Astral Gate was destroyed, there was no way to resolve this crisis without the power of Maxwell.
Yō and Almatheia could only grit their teeth and watch in frustration.
They desperately tried to think of a way to do something, but didn't find any.
― With this, the battle of Kouen City was over.
The land had been ravaged, and the pride of their brethren was trampled to the ground.
Yō relaxed her body and let herself lay on the ground, like she had accepted defeat.
― Even so, get up, she heard.
A resounding voice echoed in the soul of Kasukabe Yō.
Translator's Notes and References
- In the original text it was Phrase Gate with english letters, but the kanji meant Freeze Gate, so this must be mistake made by the creator. I haven't decided what to do in this case, so for the time being I'm leaving it as it is.