Act 2 – 24 : He Who Drove The Darkness, He Who Cast Light 1
After confirming that Chiyuki and Nao safely managed to escape from the underground passage, Kuroki shifted his focus toward the masked man.
The masked man hadn’t done anything during Kuroki and the others’ prelude to escape, all he could do was just stare at Kuroki, who had managed to undo so many of his spells, with a bewildered look on his face.
「WHO THE HELL ARE YOU??!!」
「Cough… that should be my question.」
Kuroki also couldn’t hide his bewilderment.
（Who the hell is that masked weirdo? He must be a divine being since he can easily defeat Reiji’s comrades. But, he doesn’t seems like an Elios God nor does he seem to be Modes’ friend. ）
Because if the masked man really was Modes’ friend, then he should’ve already heard of him during his talks with Modes.
「How can you still move in this domain when you should’ve lost your power?!」
「Even if you ask me that question…」
Not even Kuroki could answer the masked man’s question. All he did was come to the source of the dark mist and just happened to stumble upon the masked man and Reiji’s comrades. He also ended up saving Reiji’s comrades to boot.
（This masked weirdo might be the one who created this dark mist.）
Kuroki mused, overlooking the fact that he also hid his face with a mask and was literally in the same position as the strange man before him. However, it was true that the masked weirdo before him did look more sinister.
「You shouldn’t be the Hero’s comrade! Answer me! Who’s your master?!」
Hearing the masked man’s inquiry, Kuroki was now sure that the masked man and his actions were unrelated to Modes.
「Yes, I’m not the Hero’s comrade nor do I have the intention to become one.」
Rather, Kuroki’s mood had plummeted upon finding out that the strange man had mistook him as one of Reiji’s comrades.
（Well, it can’t be helped since I did save Reiji’s girls. Well, doesn’t matter, I still need to stop him from bringing disaster to this land.）
Kuroki chanted a spell, summoning his armaments. His clothes and robe then vanished and were replaced with his jet-black armor and cursed sword.
「A DARK KNIGHT!!」
「W-WHAT IS THE TRAITOR’S LACKEY DOING IN THIS KIND OF PLACE?!」
The strange man couldn’t mask his shock upon seeing Kuroki transforming into his Dark Knight form.
「Traitor? What do you mean?」
「HUMPH, DON’T TELL ME THAT YOU DON’T KNOW WHO I AM TALKING ABOUT! IT’S THE MOST BELOVED SON OF OUR GREAT MOTHER, THE TRAITOR CALLED MODES!!」
He bellowed with an indignant voice.
Kuroki couldn’t hide his astonishment upon hearing the man’s remark.
（Wait so he is related to Modes and… Modes is… a traitor? This is the first time I’ve heard of this.）
Kuroki felt the urge to confirm this matter with Modes once he returned to Nargol.
「Moreover, why did you go as far as saving the Hero’s women when you people should be hostile to each other?」
「Well, it’s not like I wanted to save them either, it was just a coincidence. Anyway, since you’re Modes’ enemy, that makes you my enemy as well. Do I still need to elaborate why I decided to disturb your plans?」
Kuroki just wanted to save this kingdom and yet, he ended up saving the Hero’s comrades too in the process.
「Yeah, that’s more like it. I don’t know how you’ve managed to discover me, but just know you’ll die for hindering my plans!!」
The masked man then readied himself to fight Kuroki.
Kuroki, on the other hand, found the situation to be funny. Everything that happened up to this point was all a bunch of coincidences that piled up onto each other, resulting in the "miracle" he was in right now.
「HOW DARE A MERE DARK KNIGHT TRY TO STOP THIS ZARXIS, THE RIGHT HAND OF NARGOL, GOD OF DESTRUCTION!!」
That phrase stopped Kuroki’s train of thought for a moment. He was unfamiliar with the name Zarxis and was sure that he had never heard of it before.
「O DEAD SOULS IMPRISONED IN THE FREEZING ABYSS, HEED MY CALL!!」
The temperature inside the room immediately plummeted as soon as Zarxis chanted those words.
Kuroki was familiar with the magic Zarxis was trying to use. In this world there was an abyss feared by even the Gods, a prison for the souls of the dead who couldn’t pass on. It was known as the world after death. The souls of the dead inside this abyss were all trapped inside a frozen prison.
And, what Zarxis was trying to do right now is summon that frozen prison and make it appear in this world.
According to Loughas, this was the highest level of freezing magic.
（But, it’s far from enough to beat me.）
Kuroki ignited the black flame in his body.
「O Black Flame, Be My Shield and Burn Everything to Ashes!!」
When Kuroki shouted, a black flame appeared and surrounded him, forming a barrier. It was just in time for it to face Zarxis’ frozen prison, which was already on the verge of fully appearing, cancelling it out in the process before vanishing as well.
「A black flame. Runfeld… no, you don’t seem to be him. I see now, you’re that rumored Dark Knight, huh.」
Kuroki was really surprised upon knowing that Zarxis had heard of him.
（Eh? Is there another rumor about me?!? Why do I feel like it wouldn’t be a nice rumor though?!）
Kuroki scratched his cheek in embarrassment. The rumors about him as the fierce Dark Knight had spread far and wide amongst the citizens of this world. Many of those rumors, if not most, slandered him. That’s why he didn’t see the "rumor" Zarxis mentioned in a positive light.
Moreover, Kuroki was a rather introverted person by nature. He hated the fact that the rumors about him were running rampant.
「If you whose power rivals that of the Hero is in this country too… I guess Orua is really just unlucky.」
Zarxis heaved a sigh.
Kuroki summoned his demon sword and pointed it towards Zarxis.
「Is this the end then, Zarxis-san? If that’s the case, may I ask you to remove that dark mist? And since there are a lot of things I wanted to ask you, can you stay for a while to answer my questions?」
Kuroki questioned him relentlessly in one breath.
Naturally, he wasn’t so naive as to expect the other party to answer his questions.
「The end? What are you talking about? When did I say that?! Come Forth, My Strongest Undead!!!」
When Zarxis stepped back, a gigantic figure appeared.
「Is that… a dragon?」
The thing that appeared before him was a dragon. Size wise, it was as big as Glorious.
But, it was by no means a normal dragon. Its skeleton was completely exposed.
「This is the guardian of this room, the dragon zombie made out of the ancient Firedrake. It’s not something that will fall so easily to you, even if you have flame resistance. In the meantime, I’ll kill the Hero and destroy this country.」
Kuroki looked at the majestic dragon that had become a zombie.
「You’re originally the same dragon species as Glorious, huh…」
Kuroki recalled his important partner, Glorious.
Zarxis hadn’t even let the dragon sleep in peace even after its death. Kuroki felt sympathetic toward the dragon in front of him.
「Go, Dragon Zombie! Stop that Dark Knight!!」
The dragon zombie rushed towards Kuroki at Zarxis’ command.
Kuroki stopped that charging bulldozer head on.
Though he wasn’t blown away by its attack, it didn’t mean he could stop the impact of the attack that ran through his body.
Kuroki unintentionally let out a groan due to the impact of that attack.
「Great! Now keep him pinned down just like that and don’t let him go!!」
Zarxis’ voice resounded in the room.
Kuroki’s mind had already ignored Zarxis’ voice as he closed his eyes, focusing his consciousness toward the head of the dragon in his embrace. After searching for a few seconds, he finally found something like a black thread endlessly weaving inside the dragon’s consciousness, then used his mana to cut that thread.
「O proud dragon. I already cut the thread that binds you even in your death. Now you may rest in peace…」
Upon hearing Kuroki’s words, the dragon who turned into a zombie became obedient.
「IMPOSSIBLE! I TAMED THAT DRAGON ZOMBIE!!」
Zarxis who was about to leave the room while keeping Kuroki pinned down by the dragon suddenly let out a surprised voice.
At the same time, the dead dragon suddenly raised a warcry. Thereupon, the soul of the dead dragon entered Kuroki’s body.
「I see… you want to be with me, huh.」
Naturally Kuroki had no reason to refuse the dragon’s wish of staying with him. In doing so, the dragon’s skeleton turned into ashes.
「W-What the hell did you just do?! How can you do something like that despite not being an Elios God!!」
Zarxis’ angry shout resounded in the room.
「Woopsie! I almost lost my cool here! I guess I’ll back down for now!!」
Zarxis’ body became transparent as soon as he spoke those words.
「As if I’ll let you off! Fire bind!」
Kuroki used the power of the fire dragon in him, forming a flame rope to catch Zarxis.
But, he was a step too late as Zarxis’ figure had already vanished by then.
「Tch… I should’ve used the transfer magic seal.」
Kuroki felt a sense of regret in failing to catch Zarxis.
（There are so many things I want to ask him, but I guess I have no choice but… to ask Modes about this after I return to Nargol. Welp, I almost forgot that I have to find a way to disperse the dark mist.）
Kuroki started searching for anything that Zarxis might have left behind and that might help. After looking for a while, he finally found a spot in the room with powerful magical waves. When he arrived at the location of that magical power, he found that the source came from a gigantic magic circle, shining in an ominous red color.
The magic circle was interconnected in a radial pattern, it looked just like spiderwebs connecting to each other.
And then, he noticed something like black mist coming out of that magic circle.
「This might be the source of the dark mist…」
Kuroki readied his demon sword, and cut apart the magic circle.
Thereupon, the red light vanished along with the magical power.
「The dark mist should’ve dispersed with this.」
Kuroki muttered as he pondered about the events happening overground