4.4 Fighting Alone
Tesfia avoids the attacks of the mamono and swings her sword.
The difference between D rank and C rank mamono lays in the lack of damage her blade inflicts upon them. While she can scratch their murky black skin, fatal injuries are beyond her.
Even if she were only dealing with D rank mamono, holding against that many wouldn’t be possible. Regardless of how long she can hold out for, she is exhausting her mana. She’s doesn’t even know why she’s resisting— Everyone knew how this would end from the start.
Still… Regardless of how pointless fighting on is, Tesfia is unable to give up.
A mamono’s sharp arm somehow slides underneath Tesfia’s katana.
It blows away Tesfia’s weakened body with its might. Tesfia, for the countless time, is sent tumbling over the ground.
The world is flipped. Her momentum subsides on the lake’s bank. Her consciousness is hazy, her stare is unfocused.
With feeble gasps, she raises her head. Crimson dyes her view.
With her fingers, she timidly touches her forehead and feels sticky blood seep over them. Regardless, it isn’t a gash that will kill her. Thus, she won’t give in just yet. With her sword as support, she gets back up.
Her thoughts are muddled. Her heart beats so hard, it makes her wonder if it’s in her head. Immediately, she raises her katana and focuses on moving forward.
Mamono swoop down on her team members, cramming together to pass through the now unguarded space.
The mamono aren’t decreasing in number. Instead, to Tesfia they seem to have increased. She has yet to find a mamono’s core. As such, none have been destroyed. The biggest proof is a mamono that had its legs chopped off is closing in on her team members by crawling. Its eyes burn red with indignant rage.
Magic doesn’t flash over her katana. Instead, she barely manages a frail glow with her swing.
No mamono falters from her attack. Tesfia, for the first time, reflects on herself. Her katana is a beloved weapon she has been using for years.
…However, mana no longer flows through it. Her mana pool has finally dried up.
While such a situation sounds cool for a lone struggle, it doesn’t overturn the reality Tesfia faces. She ruminates on a corresponding theory about the incompatible relationship between humans and mamono.
The spider mamono, as though initiating a final blow, releases a loud bark. It then lifts up several of its legs as though in prayer and laughs, kera kera.
Clusters of child like spiders drop from the tree tops. Their sudden appearances are like predators who were waiting for their prey to falter.
Tesfia no longer has the strength to be surprised. From the start, she was already overwhelmed by despair due to the unfathomable danger.
She once more manages to stand… In that way she undertakes a defensive battle, one that doesn’t withstand more than a few blows.
The mamono torment Tesfia, unleashing their furry on their prey. She staggers around, unable to avoid their onslaught. They tear off her sleeves with their claws. At the same time, one slashes her hair clip, leaving her hair to scatter about.
Tesfia’s hair flutters before her face as she’s knocked off balance and sent flying through the air. The red shine of her hair resembles the crimson redness given off by the eyes of mamono. However, unlike their eerie blood like dark red hues, her hair absorbs light and makes it a red of her own.
As her hair flutters out of her sight, she helplessly falls on her back.
Tesfia glances towards her group members and discovers that just about all of them have fainted from terror. Should I consider them lucky? Even though she can’t even move a single finger, she doesn’t want to close her eyes even till the end.
Mamono walk towards Tesfia. She can tell from the trembling of the ground. Death draws closer with each and every step. The eerie, unpleasant, and jarring voices are already far off.
Enough, I’m done.
Even though Tesfia is resigning herself to what’s to come, she praises herself. Then, in that situation, the leaves overhead spread, allowing her to glimpse at the sky.
That view, however, is soon blocked as a pointed object appears before her face. It is the hand or foot of a mamono, one deciding where to attack.
The countdown for Tesfia’s execution begins, but her mind drifts to someplace else.
Even in a hopeless situation like this, my magic responded. You can’t say I don’t have the right attitude anymore.
For some mysterious reason, she smiles and sheds tears of blood.
The sharp point of certain death moves to the crown of her head as though invited there. Then, after a brief pause, it swings down.
She can’t figure out what happened. Even though she hadn’t closed her eyes from beginning to end, she can’t make sense of it.
The moment the pointed tip swung down, it vanished from sight. Off in the distance, she can hear shrieks that sound like screams. The following thumping sounds against the trees are unending.
Not just that attacking mamono, but all the mamono surrounding Tesfia were blown away.
She hears a familiar voice, one belonging to a man whose every word is laced with insolence and haughtiness, and one that finds it bothersome to speak. Entering her sight is a person wearing an ominous and emotionless mask.
He slowly slides his arms underneath her and lifts.
“You really are.”
The abusive language the masked man breathes out is all Tesfia needs to recognize him. No, I’d kn ow who this is even without that. Tesfia knows that no one could have arrived there that faster from when she used the rescue signal. If there was someone who could make it there in time, only one person comes to her mind.
“If you can talk this much, then you should be fine.”
Regardless of that remark, Arus properly confirms there aren’t any serious injuries on her body. The gash running across her forehead to under her hair isn’t serious, it’s a shallow cut. That he doesn’t have an aptitude to use healing magic to tend to such an injury is regrettable, but he redirects his thoughts elsewhere.
Arus carries Tesfia to her other group members. A dazzling sword is stabbed into the ground there. He sets her down so that her back rests against it.
“Keep living,” Tesfia isn’t sure if that’s the unspoken message she’s being given. While such a request to someone who is riddled with wounds is harsh, she keeps her gaze upon Arus’ back.
“Looks like I couldn’t finish them off with the 200th link.” With those words, Arus pulls out a knife from behind his waist.
Arus’ AWR’s 220 chain link’s [Motioner Link] can only project the direction of their kinetic energy. In other words, by throwing the knife, he can have it fly in a straight line towards a targeted mamono. It is an application of space interference magic.
However, the power behind it is quite weak. The mamono that were blown away are already getting back up.
Arus looks over the spider mamono. “One B rank, eight C, and no less than thirty-eight D… Quite a bit seem to have gathered here.” In an instant, he not only determines the total number of the mamono, but even their ranks.
Tesfia, however, is more shocked by his ominous knife and its eerie chains. While she’s likely to lose consciousness at any moment, her heart somehow continues to beat, preventing the door to her consciousness from closing.
The spider mamono seems to have made that lake its territory. While mamono aren’t the same as magicians, there is nothing unusual with high ranking mamono being followed by low ranking mamono.
“I’m a lecturer too, so don’t go believing you’ll die quickly.”
The chains on Arus’s knife jingle in the air, jyara jyara as they’re flung out. Mana flows threw them in an instant.
Tesfia is comforted by the fact that Arus is wearing a mask. It doesn’t let her see any of his anger or resentment from being reflected on his face. To the current expression he’s making, I’m relieved not knowing it.
His knife drops as he tosses it from his hand. The blade, without any resistance, sinks halfway into the ground.
—–With the knife as the center point, the ground freezes. In the time it takes to blink, the landscape changes. The lush, breath taking, landscape transforms into a silver, frozen, world.
Everything within that world is still. Scores of mamono are frozen. Branching from their bodies are thorn like icicles.
Tesfia is familiar with that magic. [Freeze] is a spell that seals the movements of mamono by enveloping the ground with ice. It is an incomplete version of the spell that unfolded before her eyes, [Eternal Frozen World (Niflheim)], a spell that belongs to the highest rank of magic.
In wordless surprise, Tesfia misunderstands Arus of having the same ice system aptitude as herself. That brief conclusion is immediately reconsidered.
Arus doesn’t intend to stop there. In accordance to her aptitude, ice system magic has the most utility, easily able to be built upon. He tugs the chain back a bit and kicks the handle of the impaled knife.
Tesfia feels something like a sound wave vibrate across her skin. However, none of the surrounding trees are shaking.
[Seismic Osculation Wave (Rail Pine)] is a spell that induces vibration from inside individuals. As such, all of the frozen mamono shatter until only one remains.
The ice world disperses in a beam of light as Arus retracts his knife. It returns to being mana. The remains of the mamono, however, do not.
Tesfia wasn’t remaining silent due to being overwhelmed. Instead, her gaping mouth has withered her throat. It’s too hoarse for her to say anything else. If her throat were hydrated… whether she’d be able to say anything is also dubious.
Arus turns around. He doesn’t look at Tesfia, but at the spider mamono released from its frozen state. From that, it can be inferred he purposely left it alive.
He seems to be saying it is time to clean up the garbage as he speaks an unexpected line, “How about we get started?
“…You still awake?”
Arus’ eyes as he turns towards Tesfia are void of emotion. Tesfia, not knowing his expression, doesn’t know what to expect. Regardless, her shock motivates her to say, “As if I could sleep after seeing something like that!”
Arus swings around his knife in order to adjust its long chain as he runs.
Tesfia can’t tell if he’s dashing towards her. Blinking wasn’t her intention, but before she knows it, the masked Arus is drawing closer to the mamono.
“You no longer have any comrades.” Such is muttered out to no one in particular.
Is he asking what it will do now that he’s slaughtered all the other mamono here?
The mamono’s human like mouth, a mouth inappropriate for insects, spews forth a roar full of indignation.
The mamono raises tens of legs and repeatedly stomps down at Arus. Mud, potentially created by the lake water, splatters all about. Then, its hundreds of strikes, without anyone noticing, stop thumping against the ground.
The mamono, whether it noticed or not, holds its legs up overhead. Its bright, red, compound eyes stare in blank amazement.
Arus’ expression seems to twist into a sneer underneath his mask as he ridicules the mamono. “Hahaa, were you trying to do something with those?”
Scores of the mamono’s hundreds of legs have been severed halfway up. The remaining stumps can no longer reach the ground.
Its crimson compound eyes sway a bit as it quivers from anger. “Gukikikiiii kiki!!”
“Fushuu,” poisonous gas leaks from its mouth as it exhales. A different sound then comes from it neck as new legs sprout from it. Regardless, the amount generated are less than what was lost.
“You can do something like that too? In that case, you won’t need those other ones.”
Arus throws his knife. The straight flying knife arcs through the air and twines around a bundle of the mamono’s legs on one side of its body. Afterwards, he tugs the chain in his hand with all his strength.
Mitsu mitsu, the black legs make an unsettling sound as they rub against each other. Then, through the use of magic, they scrunch together in one go.
Baki baki, they crumble into pieces without any trouble. The ground overflows with the mamono’s deep green bodily fluids.
The mamono shrieks as its massive body slants towards a side. It struggles to reorient itself with its remaining legs, but it can’t even gain a moment’s respite.
Overwhelming, Tesfia’s eyes pop open in an instant as she watches from far off. Arus plays with the mamono the same way she was. He is already reaping its other legs with his knife.
The mamono is flat on the ground, overshadowed by Arus’ robe as he looks down on it from atop its back. The way he stares at it as though it’s nothing more than trash is melancholic.
That’s when Tesfia notices a chill. “…is it over?”
Arus’ eyes, through the gaps in his mask, reflect no emotion as they stare down at the mamono.
The mamono’s abdomen swells a bit. At first, Tesfia thinks its breathing, but then Arus jumps back. The edges of his mouth rise from underneath his mask.
Smoke fumes from the mamono’s mouth as a dark liquid builds within it. The ground evaporates as some liquid leaks out and spills onto it, creating even more smoke.
Once the mamono’s body swells to more than double its size, it hurls the thick concentration of acid at Arus.
Not even a single droplet touches him.
T/N: Wow, this was way more detailed than the one two finish we got in the manga.