Mizuki whispers, “Reiji-kun, we don’t know these people!  What should we do?”

“Whatever we do, I just hope it’s something we can handle.”  That’s doubtful, they’re not in any position to do anything.  Reiji, despite his thoughts, tries to calm Mizuki who’s getting affected by the serious mood.

There’s a young woman riding atop of a horse before Reiji’s eyes.  She makes her way through the smoke with a challenging voice.  With wavy long, blond hair and lips raised up in a daring smile, she possesses the stern eyes born to those who reign over others.  She’s dressed in luxurious military gear with her coat hanging from her shoulders.

Everyone in her entourage are equipped with the same gear.  Are they her companions or subordinates?  Regardless, the situation is worrisome.

….Is anyone aware of their horses?  They’re riding horses just like Reiji and his companions, yet the hooves of their horses don’t make any sound upon hitting the ground.  When considering the amount and how close they are, that’s impossible.

Reiji is so caught up in his question that he murmurs it aloud.  Felmenia overhears him and whispers her guess.  “Reiji-dono, that lady is the Nelfila Empire’s third princess, her highness Graziela Filas Raizeld.  She is known as Geo Malfields (Emperor of earthquakes), the Empire’s strongest earth attribute mage.  Something like erasing the sound of hooves stomping might not be any trouble for her highness.”

“Why would she want to erase the sound of footsteps?”

“I also do not know.  Judging from the situation, they don’t have the intention to attack us.”

While Reiji and Felmenia discuss Graziela’s motives in private, Titania approaches Graziela with a firm expression.  “It has been a long time, your Highness, Graziela.”

“It really has, your Highness, Titania.  You’re still as long winded as ever.”

Even though there’s a prevalent atmosphere of doubt and anger, Titania extends a courteous greeting.  Despite that, Graziela gives a heavy handed reply.  That disregard to the current situation irks Titania.  “Your Highness, you mentioned your reason for being here is self-evident.  What exactly did you mean?”

“Oh?  You need an explanation?  How about you explain the situation to me?”

“…..We may be in an alliance, but you still crossed our national border without prior notification.  Furthermore, you even brought along a squad of soldiers.  Such outrageous conduct warrants an explanation.”

Graziela counters Titania’s firm stare with a dark expression.  “Certainly, such actions do warrant explanation.  However, is this such a situation?”

“….What do you mean?”

“What part don’t you understand?”

Their glares clash.  Then, Graziela turns her nose.  “Didn’t mazoku invade your country?  Not only did you not consider the possibility of damage spreading to neighboring countries, you neglected to inform your ally country of this development.  What kind of alliance is this?”

“That…. The mazoku invasion was too sudden.  We didn’t have enough time to inform anyone.”

“Yet you are prepared to engage them.  Not only that, both you, someone who should be in my country (or, who should be in your country) and Aster’s Yuusha knew to come here.  There is no excuse to not having contacted us.  Or is Aster kingdom’s princess-dono nothing more than a pretty face?”

“Tsuu—”  Titania’s face distorts.

Graziela laughs through her nose.  She draws satisfaction from her own rudeness.

“Well, you only stopped by my country because you are on your way to defeat the demon king.  You not being aware of current domestic affairs is pretty reasonable.  That is why—”

“That is why you are having me stay silent on this matter?  Your Highness, you’re the one who entered my country with neither permission nor proper justification.”

“My understanding is that I rushed here to rescue my country’s ally.  Such circumstances more than justifies my actions.  Should you not overlook this breach in protocol?” Graziela demands.

Did she come to help?  That would mean she was trying to sneak up on the mazoku from behind.  Such a situation does make sense after thinking about it.

Titania’s bitter expression, however, doesn’t change.  She keeps glaring at Graziela.  “….I will officially protest this matter later.”

“That sounds good, but this matter is one regarding a mazoku invasion.  Do you not agree that the Sardius Alliance, the Autonomous State, and Holy Order would probably take my side?”  She brushes aside Titania’s complaints without any hesitation.  How thick skinned is she?

She then turns towards Reiji.  Her piercing stare seizes him from his head all the way down to his toes.  “Are you Aster’s summoned Yuusha?”

“….Yes.”

“What an unsocial person.”

“This is my natural disposition.”  Reiji gives a light bow with his head.  She isn’t an opponent to whom he can show any openings.

Graziela accepts his explanation and laughs while staring at Reiji’s face.  “You have a beautiful face.”

“….Come again?”

“A good face unblemished from a single scar.  Is the other world free from conflict?  As the man we call Yuusha, you do not look dependable.”  She is very bold to say such things on their first meeting.  What an unreasonable girl.

The remark angers Titania.  “—Your Highness, Graziela, this man is the Yuusha who came to save the world.  Is that not what is said?”

“Hmm.  That is what I thought up until now, too.  But this disaster scene does not look like something just anyone could accomplish.”  Everyone glances towards Titania at that remark.  “— What happened to the mazoku forces?”

“….Well, we are not sure.  I also want to know what happened.”

“Hmm?” Graziela frowns at Titania’s explanation.

“I also do not know what happened, nor do I know how to explain this.”  Even though they’re her honest words, she does not want to speak them.  As Reiji thought, she really hates losing.

That’s when Reiji realizes that Hadrias is watching the situation unfold from the side.  He came here for some reason, but hasn’t done anything other than watch.  He’s been too quite since Graziela arrived.  Taking his personality and position into account, he’s probably been trying to get in a word or two.  Looks like not even an Aster noble like him can mount a protest against that girl.

What are you thinking about behind that mask you wear?  Is it different from the image I projected at the beginning?  Except, something about it feels unnatural.

An incident occurs while Reiji harbors these doubts.  Everyone looks around upon noticing a strange, rising wave of power.  It’s a powerful surge of magic power.  Felmenia, however, looked upward at the very beginning.  Her long silver hair shakes as she says, “That’s…”

“Was she the first one to spot it?”  Hadrias says while glaring at the mazoku zipping towards them.  “There’s still one left—”

“—It’s stronger than the mazoku we just fought.” Reiji finishes the thought.

Everyone gets ready to fight.  Each of them feels just how dangerous the situation is becoming.  The approaching mazoku is bursting with magical power.  The mazoku they battled against up until now can’t compare to this one.  That dangerous mazoku is headed straight towards them.  Just like the previous mazoku, it rushes to slaughter humans the moment it sees any.

The horses won’t stay calm.  Reiji stays vigilant, but lets out a low grunt as he dismounted from his horse.  The others also dismount.

That the mazoku arrives goes without saying.  A flash of light strikes the ground before everyone’s eyes.  Accompanying the thunderous explosion is a spray of rocks and dust.  A cloud of smoke fills the area once more.  A hard wind strikes them and magic power assails them like a fine rain.

A huge demon more than two meters tall and wrapped in rust red skin comes into view.  Its thick limbs and robust body are like an expression of its magical potency.  “Band of humans…. Have you gathered your strength?”

“Hu-huge…”  Someone gasps upon seeing the mazoku’s massive form.

“Reiji-sama!  Don’t let your guard down!”

“Yeah, Tia, I understand.  Just…”

Reiji narrows his eyes at the mazoku at Titania’s warning.  Even though the mazoku radiated unparalleled power during its flight here, it’s actually covered in wounds.  A shaky black aura is emitted from the scars riddling its body.  This mazoku isn’t at its best.  Even he can see that it’s exhausted.

From the magical residue, this mazoku seems to have taken part in a fierce battle.  No, there’s no mistaken that that is what happened.  This mazoku came here after a life or death battle.

It’s weakened, yet its magical power is astounding.  Judging from the wind pressure it creates, this mazoku is still a formidable adversary for all of us.

Hadrias asks the imposing mazoku a question.  “Just what kind of a bastard mazoku are you?”

“I… I am called Rajas, one of the demon generals to the mazoku army…”

Both Titania and Graziela gasp upon hearing Rajas name himself.

“A… A demon general!?”

“Hoo… what a big shot.”

Hadrias keeps his gaze sharp on Rajas during that commotion.  “You look like you’ve had a hard time.  What kind of fight did a bastard like you get into before reaching here?”

“Silence, that doesn’t concern any of you…”  Rajas rebukes Hadrias.  Pain from its wounds isn’t the only thing that leak into his voice, it’s also laced with anger at the one who defeated it.

Rajas prepares for battle while speaking.  He wants to strike first?  Everyone raises their weapon in response.  The mazoku general, however, loses its chance when Reiji says, “…I want to ask you something.”

“What?”

“Why do you attack humans?”  The mazoku must have a reason for attacking humanity and that’s something Reiji wants to learn no matter what.

Rajas speaks after making a strange expression.  “Fu-n, that’s just how it is.  Human society is an infestation that we want to exterminate.”

“Human society?  An infestation?  Do you feel that way about all life?”

“You humans are different, you’re like a never ending swarm of maggots.  The way you developed into a society ticks us off.  Exterminating you is only natural.”

“Aren’t humans and mazoku both living creatures?  Isn’t using such a justification to kill one another pointless?”

“What do you mean?”  (Can also be read, “Is that all you want to say?”)

“Just that.” (Can also be read, “That’s right.”)

Reiji truly wants to know why humans and mazoku had to fight, he wasn’t trying to make light of the situation.  However, only idiots believe that all conflicts can be resolved by understanding one another through dialogue.  If that were true, then conflict would have never existed.

Regardless, Reiji still wants to know.  If there is no reason to fight, then they should stop.  He isn’t claiming that they should clasp hands in friendship, but that life would be better if they could respect each other’s autonomy.

He hears an anxious sound from Titania and a snort from Graziela.  Despite that, this is the outcome Reiji desires.  He then tosses an inquiring gaze towards Rajas.

“…Are you the Yuusha bastard?”

“Does that change anything?”

“Ku….. Kuku…. I see.  You said some naïve things, but…. This all works out for me.  With this, I can finally accomplish my original mission.”  Rajas makes a bold declaration despite the obvious wounds rampaging around his body.

Graziela releases a condescending laugh at the mazoku’s determination.  “Care to repeat that, mazoku?  You are already pretty beat up.”

“Such a nosy person.  Well, I can’t just leave with the way things are now.  Yuusha, I’ll be compensating for my blunder by claiming your neck!  Don’t get ahead of yourselves, humans!”

Rajas once again raises his magical power for the impending battle.  Reiji points his sword at the mazoku.  Hadrias and his soldiers do the same.  Mizuki falls to the back where Titania stands ready for a command to unleash her magic.  Felmenia follows the flow and positions herself at the side.

Graziela, however, watches the event unfold.  She doesn’t uncross her arms or give any indication that she intends to fight.  The arrogance she carries herself with, whether because she’s accustomed to battle or not, remains unchanged.

“Hey, what about my question?”

“Enough with your talk, Yuushaaa!”

Rajas moves.  The gigantic, 2 meter tall mazoku speeds towards Reiji.  With a roar, it goes even faster.

“Kuu—”  Reiji springs forward and matches Rajas’s speed.  He achieves a speed unthinkable in the previous world.  He soars above Rajas and swings his sword.  “Haaaaaaaa!”

Rajas meets Reiji’s sword with a fist and, with a kiai, shakes it off.  Even though the impact rattles Reiji’s arm, he manages to hold on to his sword.  Rajas’s fist rivals Reiji’s two handed swing boosted by the divine protection blessed upon him during his summoned.  If this is Rajas’s exhausted state, what would 100% be like?

Rajas throws a side punch while Reiji is still in mid-air.  It’s an attack that ignores the power Reiji placed behind his sword.  Reiji squats down as he lands and Raja’s palm strike flies right over his head.

Reiji, out of pure instinct, grips the ground with a hand and pulls himself away.  A swung hand bounces off the mud.  Reiji protects his head with his sword and then steps forward with a strike, but Rajas gives a vigorous stomp.

“Uwah!”  Reiji’s balance collapses as the strong impact that shakes the earth coincides with his step in.  Rajas then rams its enormous body into Reiji.

“Re- Reiji-kun!”

“…Mizuki, I’m fine!  Don’t worry!”  Reiji stands back up even though he feels as though a jolt of electricity ran through his body.

For some reason, Rajas shouts at him in anger.  “So this is the Yuusha’s power!  You’re standing against the ambition of the mazoku with just that?  Ridiculous!”

What is going through Rajas’s mind to be so frustrated and disappointed?  Reiji feels as though he’s being compared to someone else.

Rajas moves to attack Reiji again, but Hadrias shields him.

“Get out of the way!”

Hadrias stands against Rajas’s deafening roar with silence and dodges the mazoku’s flurry of punches as though it were a game of touch.  Hadrias, with the way he moves, may as well be in the prime of his life.  Then, upon finding an opening, cuts a deep gash across Rajas’s chest.

“Guu!”

“Fu-n…”

Whereas Rajas twists his face at receiving the cut, Hadrias looks bored.  A scornful sigh even escapes his nose.  That imposing mazoku is weaker than Hadrias?

“Che!  Human—”

Even though Hadrias brushed Rajas off like a bug, he leaps back to create some distance between themselves.

“Take—”  That sounds like a woman’s shriek.  Graziela uses that timing to release a sneak attack.  Did she stay quite up until now for an opportunity like this?  She gallops forward while casting a spell.  “—ground!  This is the crystallization of my majesty!  I shatter authority with my own hands!  The stone monument erected in tribute to the fallen!  Crystal Raid!”

Graziela strikes the ground beneath herself as she chants her spell in front of Rajas.  A small tremor occurs and the ground surrounding her crumbles.  A countless number of stone protrusions made from quarts and selenite jut upward from where she struck.  They branch out and rush Rajas.

She uses her hard and heavy magic to accelerate the sea of razor sharp rocks into that of cannon fire.  They crash into Rajas— no, just before they make contact, a black aura coils around the mazoku’s body.

…..The demon general is buried underneath the sea of stone pillars.  The stones soon crumble and from underneath emerges Rajas’s figure, unchanged.

“It had no effect?”

Rajas’s massive body is revealed unharmed as the black aura dissipates.  Was that aura some sort of defensive technique?  It offers a very powerful protective ability, that spell was at the very least intermediate level.  Their usual attacks won’t be any good against it.

However, Graziela surprise is just as surprising.  She expected her attack to at least do something.

That is when, “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”  Rajas releases a war cry.  The mazoku forcibly draws power from the depths of its heart with a yell that appears to cut into its own life.  From the mazoku’s right hand swells a refined dark energy which then explodes and swallows everything around it.  The dark energy mixes with the shockwave and blasts towards them.

Not good…!  Reiji’s mouth dries as he reconfirms the distance between himself and Rajas’s attack.  Between it and everyone else is only ten meters.  Furthermore, there’s a lot of power within that blast, getting hit by it is dangerous.  He still can’t feel his body, he can’t move, and defensive magic won’t make it on time.  The sense of anxiousness that overcomes him chills his blood and numbs his arms.

Yet, when a person is at their wits end and out of time, the body moves on its own.

“Reiji-sama, watch out!”

“Huh?  Tia….?”

As soon as he realizes the voice coming from his side, the scenery changes.  The fear in Titania’s voice jolts Reiji’s brain.  Now that he’s aware, he notices that she’s holding him within her arms.

He needs to reorganize his thoughts.  Did she just rescue him?

He’s suddenly very far away from Rajas.  Was that magic?  That rescue really was by a hair’s breadth.

“Damn…..  even after using all my power…..  Is this because of that false thunder….?”  Rajas speaks with a raspy voice as he gasps for breath.  The mazoku’s lungs sound like they are crying.  A very potent poison must have been used against Rajas.  The mazoku’s body was struggling against it, but the anger fueling Rajas has finally succumbed to the pain.

There is a surge of magic power in their surroundings followed by an explosive output of spells as every mage casts magic.  Rajas is soon enveloped within several attributes of magic.  The attributes, fire and lightning, don’t negate each other and instead merge.  The combination of so many powerful spells results in a magic stronger than what Graziela cast.

Yet, Rajas still lives.  None of the spells affect the mazoku.

Titania gasps, “….Such a tenacious mazoku.”

“Gu, uuuu….”

Just how tough is that mazoku?  Hadrias is the only one who managed to wound it.

Rajas moans out in pain.  The mazoku had quite a bit of damage to begin with.  Looks like death is finally reaching out to it.

“Don’t falter!  Mages, keep casting!”  Hadrias’s roar fills their surroundings—

 

T/N: Now, I know I promised Friday, and I did have the chapter ready to go, I just wasn’t able to upload it.  If you’re wondering why, the computer I do my work on isn’t connected to the internet so everything I do there needs to be transferred via USB to a computer with internet access.  Anyway, I learned something this chapter.  Straight out fight scenes are much easier to translate than everything else so far.  Also, here’s a tid-bit of information I learn earlier this week.  Rajas is another name for Shiva from Hindu mythology.  That gives  bit of insight to his personality.  But in all honesty, this chapter was annoying to translate.  I would really like to get back to Suimei and see how he’s doing.

-Gandire

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