Act 1-20.1 : Showdown Against Childhood Friend
The Temple Knight, Lucullus, had lost his cool.
「What’s wrong with this ba*tard!」
Beside him, despite swinging his sword in desperation towards the opponent in front of him, none of Hyllus’s attacks could pass through the round shield held in his opponent’s arm.
The intruder before him was pushing through them with his shield.
The shield made contact with Hyullus and he was pushed back. The push’s force made him completely lose his balance, making him fall on the man behind him.
The two’s dumbfounded voices overlapped as they grunted in pain.
Lucullus stared at the invader before him, who wore ochre colored armor, eerie crimson red light peeping through the helmet’s visor.
「It’s not human…」
Lucullus and his battalion had been assigned on guard duty since the Goddess’s descent. They were stationed in front of her altar room, an important position worthy of honor.
As such, they had all felt elated and had started cracking jokes about whether or not they’d be able to see the Goddess in person.
It was in the middle of their banter that the sound of an alarm rang inside the temple, alerting them of incoming intruders.
The alarm bells chimed across the temple’s entirety, which meant that the intruders were trespassing from all four corners of the temple.
Lucullus and his team had just started rushing towards the raiders’ location when one of the assailants abruptly appeared before them, attacking their post.
Lucullus looked around him, his disposition frantic—six of his subordinates had been defeated by the intruder. Some of them had lost their limbs, while others had been knocked down by the assailant’s shield. Yet, strangely enough, none had died.
The enemy was so strong to the point that it didn’t even need to kill them. Even now, it could’ve easily killed Hyullus, who fell on his rear, and yet, it did nothing.
「O beautiful Nier, Valkyrie of Victory! Turn my faith into power! Sharp Edge!」
After Lucullus finished chanting his spell, his long sword glowed with brilliant light.
Lucullus had zero talent when it came to magic.
But, luckily, he had received Valkyrie Nier’s divine protection, granting him the ability to use magic. Moreover, since he was granted divine protection from one of Goddess Rena’s aides, he was able to climb through the ranks, becoming a commander with ease.
Lucullus swung his sword towards the intruder, the latter receiving his attack with its shield.
（Not even my enhanced sword can scratch it!）
He thought that his sword, enhanced with a sharper edge through magic, could slice through the rough shield that otherwise looked normal. But, even that couldn’t put a scratch on it.
The intruder then swung its sword at him, forcing him to retreat as he received the attack with his knight shield.
（And yet, only one of its f*cking attacks can easily destroy our shields!）
Lucullus observed his opponent’s attack pattern. Strangely enough, it wasn’t aiming for his body or head, as if it didn’t want to kill him.
「Is it just… toying with us?」
Though there was only one assailant fighting against him and his subordinates, they were still completely overwhelmed by that single opponent. In this 9 vs 1 battle, six of Lucullus’s subordinates had been rendered immobile with ease.
As for Lucullus, defending against his opponent’s attacks was all he could do.
Behind him, one of his subordinates suddenly muttered something. Noticing the terror on his face, Lucullus followed his line of sight and was met with another shadow appearing behind the intruder.
When he was just starting to wonder whether the new invader was reinforcement for their enemy or not, he discovered that the new invader wore a jet-black full plate armor.
Upon seeing the new intruder, Lucullus felt a chill running down his spine .
The pressure released by the new intruder was leagues above the ochre colored one.
Another one of his subordinates barely squeezed those two words out of his mouth.
「Dark Knight? Don’t tell me the one from the rumor! So that rumor is real after all!」
Lucullus shrieked at the top of his lungs.
The real intruder and mastermind of this raid was the Dark Knight, who had once almost killed Reiji, the Hero of Light.
By now, his name had spread far and wide across the lands as the man who broke the Hero of Light’s undefeated record.
Nowadays, there was a rumor circulating saying that this very same Dark Knight was leading monsters around the world to destroy humans.
（No way, is he aiming for Goddess-sama?）
The worst possible scenario suddenly crossed Lucullus’s mind.
「B-Be careful, Goddess-sama…」
Lucullus had been trembling non-stop. Just by standing in front of the infamous Dark Knight he was overwhelmed by the fear of his impending death. He watched as the Dark Knight approached him, resembling the Grim Reaper.
Once the Dark Knight arrived in front of Lucullus, he raised his hand.
As soon as those words were uttered, Lucullus was suddenly overwhelmed by extreme drowsiness. The last scene his eyes viewed was his other unconscious subordinates.
It was already too late by the time he understood the origin of his sleepiness.
「So the altar is right on the other side of this door…」
Lucullus’s consciousness sank deep into darkness right after he heard the Dark Knight’s voice.
「Well, that was easier than expected.」
Kuroki arrived at his destination as he muttered those words. No one who blocked his path could escape his sleeping magic. In addition, for some reason, no angels were stationed near the Goddess’s room. His raid felt like a breeze.
Had he known that the raid would be so easy, he would have just brought Nut along with him. He had told Nut to return to Nargol due to the potential danger after all. Seems he had wrongly analyzed the situation.
However, as Kuroki mused so, he shook his head in dismissal. Negligence was taboo, it was always better to be safe rather than sorry.
（Rena should be preparing the reverse summoning ceremony in the altar room right now.）
He sent a telepathic order to all the Spartois, commanding them to head to his position and stand guard in front of the altar’s door. He didn’t want anyone to intrude after going inside.
Once all of them were gathered, Kuroki walked towards the room.
Upon opening the door and entering, he arrived in a spacious chamber illuminated by several mana lamps hanging on the walls. As he looked around, he understood why it was called an altar room. It really resembled a shrine built for worship, with tall pillars standing upright across the room, and grandiose decorations adorning the floor, ceiling, windows, and walls.
As he swept his gaze around, he noticed a huge magic square engraved in the center of the room. At the four corners of the magic square, four devices stood erect, resembling the street lamps that existed in his original world.
Those four poles resembling street lamps were also similar to the devices Kuroki saw at the Demon King’s castle when he was just summoned to this world. It was definitely the summoning assistance device created by the God of Craftsmanship, Heibos.
Added to this setting was the figure of a woman. She stood in front of the magic square, her back facing Kuroki.
Kuroki realized the woman’s identity at a glance since he had seen her portrait before—it was Rena.
「Have you captured the intruder?」
Rena asked without even bothering to turn around and look at Kuroki.
「My apologies, I’m not someone from this temple.」
Rena turned around at once upon hearing Kuroki’s voice.
The moment Rena turned around, her transcendent beauty had made Kuroki at a loss for words.
（Eh?! What the…?! What’s the meaning of this? She’s far more beautiful than her image in the portrait!）
Mona was a beauty, but Rena’s beauty surpassed hers by leaps and bounds. Meeting her face to face had blatantly proved this fact. He simply couldn’t believe that such beauty could exist.
Rena, on her part, was also showing a surprised look on her face upon seeing Kuroki’s figure.
「Who are you? Could it be… the Dark Knight?!」
Rena recited a magic spell right away.
However, her magic failed to activate.
「My apologies again. I placed a seal on the temple once I started my raid to prevent any kind of teleportation magic. In short, you can’t use this spell within this temple.」
Rena’s expression changed to that of shock.
（It seems my teleportation prevention was a success…）
Kuroki heaved a sigh as he confirmed the effect of his teleportation seal. He was worried that Rena’s power would override his spell since she was a Goddess.
Ending all of his whirlwind thoughts, Kuroki took a step forward towards Rena. As if responding to his actions, she took a step back while looking around the room with a desperate look on her face.
（Is she looking for a weapon?）
Unfortunately for her, nothing in this altar room remotely resembled a weapon. Moreover, Kuroki had no intention to let her summon her weapon.
「Were you aiming for me all along? I was almost certain that your aim was Reiji… Had I known the situation would turn this way, I would’ve brought my Valkyrie troop along with me. What a blunder I’ve put myself into.」
Kuroki helplessly shook his head and then took off his helmet.
He heard the sound of Rena’s gasp as she saw his bare face appearing.
「It’s nice to meet you, Goddess Rena. I apologize for the sudden intrusion in your temple this late at night.」
Kuroki gave his greeting and bowed as he put his helmet under his arm.
（Did I greet her politely enough?）
Kuroki was a bit anxious about whether his greeting was polite enough or not.
Along with other lessons, Modes had arranged an etiquette lesson for him to learn the proper protocol towards this world’s Gods. He happily attended the lesson since he considered it as necessary during his travels in this world.
Surprisingly, the etiquette of this world wasn’t that different from the one in his original world. Even though there was no connection between his home world and this world, some countries had similar cultures, or rather, the same exact traditions as Kuroki’s world.
That’s why he didn’t find any difficulties in learning this world’s etiquette.
Though his normal greeting wasn’t that bad, he definitely couldn’t show a boorish attitude in front of a God. Therefore, he made sure that he was extra courteous to the Goddess before him.
When he raised his face to peek at Rena’s, he was faced with her beautiful visage that far eclipsed the one in her portrait.
Rena was also staring intently at Kuroki’s face.
Kuroki had been waiting for Rena to return his greeting all this time. But, Rena’s eyes were dead set on Kuroki’s face.
Kuroki had no choice but to try to call out to her.
Though she finally came to her senses, Rena was clearly flustered.