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Chapter: 23


VOL. 3 CHAPTER 23: #2’S SECRET PLAN

Pruning sword. This might work. Run, approach, and slash.

"Here we go!"

Again. My attack slipped through again. Just like the previous attacks, the blur wavers slightly.

The pruning sword is utterly ineffective against him, the evil god says flatly.

"……Oh, you’ve got it. Although I lost it, that sword is still my property. Maybe I should get it back while I’m at it."

"Umm. I was hoping this would work."

"No matter how powerful it is, it is nothing if you can’t harness its power."

"Ah! It’s the key to unlocking your power! Which ones are they?! A hint! Give me one, please!"

"W-what’s with your reaction…?"

Huh? Why is he so taken aback? The evil god’s expression and mannerisms were vague, but I could tell that he was confused.

It was rude of me to demand that. I’ll reflect on my actions.

"Sorry, my curiosity got the better of me. I only thought it was romantic that it would not display its power unless the conditions were met. There isn’t a metal key, is there? I will be satisfied if I just know that much."

"Oh, oh… precisely. There‘s a requirement known as the key."

"That’s right! That’s right!"

"What’s wrong with your over-the-top reaction…."

I am happy to know. If possible, I’d like to know the details of the requirements, but that would be greedy, wouldn’t it?

While I was wondering if I should give up or ask the question I shouldn’t, the puzzled evil god said as if he had regained his composure.

"To unleash its power, you must know the pruning sword’s true name."

"Oooh! That’s awesome!"

"…Are you okay?"

Somehow, the evil god was worried about me. He wasn’t the type to worry about someone’s welfare.

He coughed and spoke up as if he knew he was being questioned.

"I believe I told you…."

"But you never told me?"

"Did I? I see. You might be you, but you were from a parallel world, weren’t you?"

The evil god sneered knowingly and looked at #2.

The inscription on the sword should not be known. Why did he tell #2 such an important thing? What does it mean that he goes out of his way to talk about it? It may mean that he doesn’t care if people know about the inscription, there’s some kind of trap set, or… no, those things don’t matter!

I walked up to #2, ignoring the evil god.

"#2-chan! I know you heard me! Can you tell me? Please?"

"Are you crazy? What’s wrong with you?"

This is not good. She is not in a good mood as usual.

I couldn’t stand to keep my mouth shut. As much as I wanted to argue with her about who was crazy, I tried my best to be amiable.

"Maybe I am. It will get better when I hear the sword’s name."

"Wow… creepy."

"Creepy? That’s a unique name. I feel like I’m losing my nerve."

"I’m not talking about the sword, you’re a creep."

Did you just call me creepy? I’m glad it’s not the sword.

While the two Yumiela were busy with each other, the evil god tried to use the code whenever he could. Luckily there’s Patrick, who stopped every attempt.

Sorry for making you do all the work alone. He never takes his eyes off the evil god and says,

"There’s more to this than meets the eye! Don’t say it if you hear it!"

That is impossible. I’ll let my curiosity kill me. It’s not a bad idea to have a heart-to-heart with a cat.

If I answered what I didn’t want to, it would cause trouble… when I didn’t give him any answer, #2 responded for me.

"It’s okay. I indeed heard about it, but I forgot."

"Haa?! What is wrong with you? Are you crazy?!"

"I don’t want to hear it from you. Besides, why would I want to remember the name of a sword I’ve never even seen before?"

Eh…

I just want to know what it sounds like. My mindset changes depending on whether it’s a Mikazuki Munechika-like or a Durandal-like name.

When I tried to pester #2 to tell me, I heard a small voice. It has a strange tone that I cannot tell if it is high or low.

"It’s impossible… you must wield your power."

The instant I heard the evil god’s disturbing statement, I felt an unfathomable fear.

How can I not be afraid of an opponent that I thought would be easy to suppress and ineffective to all my attacks?

The nearest person to the evil god is Patrick. It was too late to warn him.

Before I had time to warn him, he was blown away.

"Patrick?!"

Without thinking, I turned my attention away from the evil god to head towards the direction Patrick had been blown.

The moment we make a move, we will be stopped. Now that Sanon had exhausted her power, there was no way to recover from that.

By the time I realized this, the evil god was already almost finished saying the code.

"Administrator code activated—target—"

My head turns and thinks so much that everything around me seems to slow down. What can I do to stop it?

Am I getting close to attacking him physically? Impossible. I’ll never get there in time.

Black Hole. The Black Hole has a slight delay before triggered and before the black sphere disappears. I would ignore it regularly, but now I can’t even blink.

Shadow Lance. I could activate it instantly, but he had no shadows on him. And since we were in an open area, there were no shadows nearby. Rejected.

Dark Flame. A spell that shoots from your fingers. No faster than Fireball. Relatively slow. It doesn’t work in time.

What about throwing the sword in my hand? It is faster than Dark Flame. But I don’t know if I can make it….

I was running out of ideas. Although the distance was less than thirty meters, it felt incredibly far.

Determined to do what had the best chance of winning, I swung my sword over my head. The time it takes to tighten my muscles is agonizing.

As I focused my aim on the evil god, I felt a sense of discomfort.

Not the mysterious blur itself, but his feet. The ground was black, a round shadow that was clearly visible.

No time to think about it. If there is a shadow, I can use that thing.

The time delay before the activation is almost zero from my point of view. The black lance with divine speed pierces the evil god.

"Shadow Lance!"

"—Tsk, you got in my way."

This is my chance to get closer to the evil god. It’s okay now.

It was a close call. The situation changed rapidly in less than a second.

The mysterious shadow that helped me quickly disappeared. And at the same time, I hear Remn’s voice coming from my shadow.

"I have to do my job."

"Is that what you’re doing?"

"I’m the God of Darkness, remember? It’s only natural that I could do it."

"Please keep casting the shadow under the evil god."

"Here’s the thing, I feel tired now."

Remn, aren’t you too frail? He feels tired after making a shadow in the ground for a moment….

However, I was saved from a tight spot. I will not mention his lack of stamina.

Leaving the conversation with Remn aside, I turned my attention to the evil god.

If I stayed focused, the Black Hole and my melee attacks would be in time. I would not make the same mistake as before.

Another thing to watch out for is what caused Patrick to be blown away. Although I only caught a glimpse of him, I could see he was safe.

It was some kind of shockwave from the evil god.

As I was bracing myself not to miss the preliminary movement, my body lifted off the ground.

"Huh?"

And then I was blown backward.

Despite having been so cautious. I hadn’t taken my eyes off the evil god for even a moment. There was no warning, no chanting, but a shockwave.

Likely, it is impossible to detect in advance.

The power was weak. It wouldn’t have any effect on Patrick or me.

We would just be blown away. And that’s what makes it so deadly.

"Administrator code—"

Again.

It’s the same thing over and over again. I wish I could say it’s a lame trick, but the situation is becoming dangerous.

He releases pure magic power and positions himself in the air. That alone would consume quite a bit of mana.

The evil god was in sight. He had moved a little. The thought of using magic in a guessing game chilled me to the core.

"Black Hole."

I don’t know how often I’ve used my highest level of dark magic to interfere with the evil god’s code activation.

Patrick came running up behind me as I landed on the ground.

"Are you okay?"

"I’m fine. I’m glad to see that you’re okay."

"But this is bad…."

"Mhm, what do we do?"

Not being able to make effective moves against the evil god, we were ready to play the long game. When he starts to chant, we just attack him and interfere incessantly.

We could sleep in shifts and keep going for a few days easily. If we can find a way to use that time, all the better, and there is even a chance that he will give up.

But when you add the shockwave, it is another story. The knockback is strong, regardless of the damage.

Patrick and I were blown away, now we have ended up on edge.

As long as we are on guard, we will interrupt the evil god before he finishes saying the code. But we can’t do that continuously.

"The lack of opportunities to attack makes it tough."

"Keeping up with this is gonna be rough."

"There must be something he is still hiding from us. There is nothing we can do if he uses his hidden power when we are exhausted."

"Not knowing what to do is practically like instant death."

Even after the evil god finishes saying the code, we will only be stopped from moving. Although it doesn’t seem very dangerous, being stopped in the middle of a battle is as good as dead.

Since we can’t use our last resort, the elixir, continuously attacked by instant death moves is more troublesome than it’s worth.

Huh? Can elixirs be used for our inability to move?

Out of curiosity, I ask the question to my shadows.

"Remn, Remn, can we use the elixir to counter the code?"

"I’m sure we could use it, but that guy is targeting the whole space, right? Who will use the elixir?"

Ah. Are we practically fighting against someone who will unleash a total instant death attack? That’s tough.

The elixirs’ effectiveness is still a mystery. It is more like a revival potion, I shouldn’t be thinking about that right now.

"Let’s spread out."

"Okay."

Patrick and I exchanged nods and then split up, running left and right.

Suppose one of us gets blown away, the other one attacks. It should be okay if we take turns fighting.

"Hmm, how sneaky."

At the same time, the evil god said that I was up in the air again.

Since there was no warning, I couldn’t prevent this at all.

When I thought the evil god was aiming at me, I saw Patrick was up in the air from the field of my vision.

Does it go in all directions? Isn’t it too strong? If it were me, I would have thought about the technique name… ah, it was tricky because he didn’t say anything like that.

"I’ll do it!"

Let’s save Patrick this time.

Like before, I was about to use my magic by preparing my body to release mana when the evil god was enveloped in a black sphere.

The only other person who can use Black Hole beside me is Yumiela #2. She came to my side as I landed and said at her own pace.

"How is it? Do you think you can win?"

"Tell me if you’re about to make a move! You’re wasting your mana!"

"I know it’s not going to happen. You’re not doing so great either."

"What? Might as well defeat #2 before the evil god."

"Hmm, that’s not what I mean."

Eh? Then, what do you mean?

Before I can ask my question, she opens her mouth gleefully.

"I know how to beat him."

"Ehh? Really?!"

"I would never fight the evil god without a plan. From the beginning, I have planned how to defeat him."

"Awesome, as expected of #2-san. You should have said so from the beginning if you had one."

I thought about praising #2, but my true feelings leaked out halfway. Seriously, say it from the beginning. What was the push and pull we were doing up to now?

I’m curious about her secret plan.

Yumiela #2 looks like she is having a good time… objectively, not that much fun. But by her standards, whose facial muscle is dead, she’s having the time of her life.

"I’m not going to tell you."

"Ha?"

"I’ll be the main one. After that, you’ll see how it goes."

"Huh?"

"You’re going to make some distraction. I want you to aim Black Hole as big as you can at that guy."

Why can’t she be nicer?

If she’s an ally, she should act like one. If she acts like that, she’s gonna be stabbed from behind.

But we’ll do what needs to be done. I am completely clueless at the moment. I have no choice but to take advantage of her secret plan.

I signaled Patrick, who is circling to the other side of the evil god, to step back and then confirm it with #2.

"Are you ready?"

"I’m ready whenever you are."

She stood next to me, undisturbed. Are you sure you’re okay?

Alright, let’s do it. Let’s make the biggest Black Hole. If it’s centered on the evil god and about as big as where we are, it’s not a problem.

"……Black Hole!"

A jet black sphere appears. However, it should appear dome-like since half of it is trapped in the ground. From my perspective, it looks like a pitch-black wall has been formed.

It was then that Yumiela #2 whispered in my ear.

"Please take care of the rest, #1."

"Eh?"

#2 is out of character. This may be the first time she has ever called me #1.

When I looked to see what was happening, she ran forward into the black, black wall.

"Watch out!"

"The sword’s name is—"

There is a time delay between the black hole’s appearance and disappearance. It can be evaded if one escapes from within the range during that slight time delay.

On the contrary, if you get to the range in time….

This is what she did. She jumped into the darkness.

The black sphere started to contract toward the center, obliterating everything.

The black sphere disappears in the blink of an eye, taking Yumiela #2 with it.

"……Eh?"

There is a huge crater forming in front of us. It creates a difference in atmospheric pressure that causes a tailwind that almost takes your feet off the ground. At the center of the great hole, the evil god stands looking the same as ever. Yumiela #2 has disappeared.

"……this can’t be."

It’s a lie. There must be some mistake. I bet #2 is hiding somewhere and is planning to surprise the evil god.

I look around in disbelief. She is not there, there is nowhere to hide for her.

No way….

"……Ah."

I feel dense mana flowing into my body. The more you visualize, the darker the dark magic.

It confronted me with facts that I couldn’t accept. This phenomenon is….

"Oh…."

I absorb a tremendous amount of mana at an astonishing speed, so much that I feel as if I will get drunk.

The mana feels familiar to my body. It’s familiar because it is the remnants left behind from the same Yumiela.

"I haven’t felt this way in a long time."

For the first time in years, the level has increased. I felt a sudden increase in power that I had never experienced before.

I became stronger. Overwhelmingly stronger. With this strength in my body, I realized that she was dead.

Yumiela #2 had jumped into my magic and lost her life.

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