Saikō no Chitsujo

Chapter 4: Part III

”So, what exactly are you hunting that you require Waves assistance? ” Esdeath asked as she looked up from her desk.

”There is a world-class danger beast I wish to apprehend, and Wave-san has sufficient knowledge about the area. ” Arata said, adjusting his posture on the seat opposite Esdeath.

”World-class danger beast you say. ” She leaned forward, placing her elbows on her desk and using her interlocked fingers to hold up her chin. ”It seems there isn much to do in the capital, so I shall accompany you instead, after all its something that would be of benefit to the empire. ”

Letting out an exhausted sigh, Arata eased his posture. ”Though my chance of succeeding could increase with you as an ally during battle, as your strength is clearly unmatched in the empire, you are still the general. Having you go on any missions that do not come from his majesty would be difficult to get approval for, and considering the fact that you would not listen to an order from me who is more experienced in handling world-class beasts, there is a chance things will go awry and I wish to avoid that. ” he stated bluntly, startling the present Wave.

Chuckling, Esdeath sat back. ”To think you would flatter me just to hurt my feelings afterwards, Arata-sama. Aren you aware I have emotions as well? ” She asked taunting him with a smile.

”I did not flatter, I only stated facts. Now if you would excuse us. ” Arata rose, heading for the door.

”I never gave my approval, now did I? ” Arata paused by the door and turned to Esdeath. ”And Wave, do you wish to accompany Arata-sama here to battle creatures that could very well kill you? ” Esdeath asked, her eyes twinkling with curiosity.

”Yes maam. ” Wave replied, his determination present in his form.

She turned to Arata, ”Bring him back alive, ” Arata-sama. ”

”That was my intention from the start General. ” Arata said, walking out of the office.

”When do we leave Arata-sama? ” Wave asked as he followed Arata.

”Be ready in ten minutes. ”

Hijiri, Akame and Lubbock crouched at the top of the cliff that bordered the stronghold. Studying the citadels layout with the little illumination given off by the moonlight and the lamps, Hijiri turned to the two. ”Ok, Ill create a little diversion while Akame-chan holds off the soldiers till I join her, and as for you noodle boy, don let a single one escape. ”

”This feels more like a massacre than an invasion. ” Lubbock sat back with a sigh

”But Hijiri-san is right. We don have the capabilities to hold any captives and any escapee could alert the other fortresses. ” Akame explained getting a subtle nod of approval from Hijiri

”If thats all, lets move. ” The three split up at the end of Hijiris statement. Akame leapt off the cliff, Lubbocks threads firmly holding her as she landed softly at an empty part of the stronghold. Freeing herself from the threads she dashed forward. Lubbock hopped down wrapping a branch firmly in his threads and dropping down to the ground, circling the stronghold from the shade of the surrounding forest, he set a thread barrier. Hijiri, noting their positions, raised his open palm in the air several bright blue fireballs coming to life above it. Clenching his fist, the cluster rained down on the stronghold. Yells and several explosions rang through the air as the soldiers rushed out of the burning buildings and tents.

Keeping to the shadows, Akame sprinted through, – blade in hand -eliminating anyone in her path. Taking a few steps back, Hijiri leapt off the cliff, landing with a roll in the middle of the camp. Hopping up immediately as he noted the strongholds state, he placed his right palm on the ground, large cracks spreading across the ground from his contact. Collapsing, the ground gave way to deep craters that several humanoid rocky horned black beasts with veins that glowed a fiery red crawled out of. They looked around growling before they spotted a group of fleeing soldiers. Charging at the soldiers, they ripped apart the ones they caught. Hijiri glanced around, noting a few enemies who attempted to surround him. Unsheathing his claymore with a sigh, he took a battle stance, ”Well I did tell Akame-chan Id help out. ”

Holding the claymore upright in front of him with both hands, Hijiri slid his right foot a few paces back and dashed forward. Leaning forward as he got closer, Hijiri swung his blade in a wide arc, easily cleaving through three soldiers in his path, leaving behind a trail of blood and innards. Visibly holding back a wild grin, he spun around and swung down, dividing a soldiers shield along with his hand.

”IGNITE ” Hijiri said with a chilling tone and a strange wolfish grin, his claymore bursting into flames in response. Ducking underneath the thrusts of the spearmen- the last of the soldiers that surrounded him -Hijiri cleaved through their torsos, their bodies exploding as the claymore came in contact. Sheathing his blade, Hijiris thrilled grin disappeared as he scanned the burning base littered with bodies and muttered, ”Akame-chan should have been done by now. Now that I think about it, this was a really inconvenient place to build a guard post. ” He hopped on a rock, opening up a parcel and eating its contents.

Smoke drifted through the night sky from the remains of the citadel; bloodied corpses, weapons and armor littered across. Akame and Lubbock ended their patrol as they approached Hijiri. ”The stronghold is clear. No signs of any reinforcements or escapees. ” Akame said sheathing her blade, glancing around the camp.

”Im done with my side of the patrol as well, killed the ones I caught hiding. ” Hijiri said, dusting himself off as he stood up from the rock.

”What were those things you summoned? ” Lubbock asked, wearily studying the lingering humanoid creatures as they patrolled the stronghold, their faces in the air sniffing. ”They
e just lower level danger beasts, don mind em. ” Hijiri commented with a lazy wave as he walked towards their previous lookout spot on the mountain ”Get some sleep, the both of you. Ill take first watch. ”

”Is this it? ” Wave asked as he equipped his Imperial arms; The Grand Chariot. The dark blue full plate armor left very little of him exposed as Waves constant eye movements revealed the minute eye slits.

”You did tell me that you were well versed in the area, did you not? ” an armor clad Arata asked stepping over a protruding root in his path.

”I haven been this far in before. ”

”But can you sense it? ”

”Sense what? ” Wave asked hopping off a jagged part of the trail.

Arata gestured at a dark cave before them, ”The maliciousness the demons emit. It paralyses their prey and, in some cases, they may begin to hallucinate. The trail that led here is probably their hunting path. ” Wave turned to Arata surprised and alarmed.

”Are you immune to it? ” Wave asked.

Arata opened his right hand and with a flash of lightning, his scythe materialized in it. Gripping it tightly, he turned to Wave. ”The other world-class and the supreme class danger beast are partly immune to this trait. So that is to say I will not fall as easily as anyone. ” Wave gulped and nodded, turning back to the cave.

”Let us go. ” Arata said, tone hardened with resolve. Taking a deep breath, Wave followed, lingering doubt constantly resurfacing as he got closer to the cave. A dull reddish glow lit up the pitch-black cavern as the smell of Sulphur filled the air, the caverns temperature rising drastically the further they got into the cave, the previous coolness nowhere to be found.

”We are close. ” Aratas voice echoed across the dark cavern and Wave, even in the suffocating heat, felt a chill down his spine. The previously dull reddish glow brightened as the duo approached an opening in the ground which revealed large lakes of flowing magma. A deep growl echoed from the chambers below the two and the magma bubbled violently, settling afterwards.

”Are we destroying the entire nest? ” Wave asked nervously clenching his fist and entering a battle stance.

”As much as I would like to respond negatively to your question, I realized the fact that should I attack their nest now, chances are they will become more active. So yes, I believe I will have to take care of the entire nest. ” Arata explained ending with a sigh.

”But the demons are world-class danger beasts, aren they? Even the both of us together would hardly be enough to handle the entire nest. ” Wave stated, his tone a mix of nervousness and concern.

Turning away from him with a sigh, Arata surveyed the bubbling magma below them. ”They would not be much trouble, after all most of them here are barely stronger than the ultra-class level. ”

Just ultra-class? Wave thought, unexplained thoughts of disbelief clouding his mind. ”Now if you do not mind I would like to destroy this nest as quickly as possible. ”

Clenching his fist, Wave nodded at Arata. ”Im ready ”.

”Good. ” Ending his statement, Arata hopped into the chamber below. Levitating several feet above the magma, he took note of the chamber and the demons slowly rising out of the molten rock. Counting six of them, their appearances were yet to leave his memory, – they all looked alike with a crimson and black jagged body with reddish glowing cracks that spread throughout their bodies, flames poured out of their eye sockets and lava dribbled down the curved horns which protruded from their foreheads, bars took a place just above their jaw – glancing across the magma lake, he confirmed that these creatures would be the ones whose regenerative prowess would be of help to Seryuu. Arata signaled Wave who hopped down to levitate beside him.

”It… its not as hot as I thou…thought magma would be. ” Wave stated tiredly, studying the magma chamber

”That is because of the wind barrier I placed around you. But that does not mean you should move recklessly, you will be turned to ashes if you did. ” Arata explained, oblivious to the state of Wave. Time seemed to slow down as Wave charged wildly, throwing a sloppy punch at Arata who easily dodged. As if cooperating with Wave, the demons charged at Arata. Opening his left palm, a bright light and a loud explosion rocked the entire cavern.

It seems Wave-san is hallucinating because of the demons.

HOW DID YOU NOT NOTICE THIS HUMAN? That was sloppiness on my path but I have to take care of this quickly.

Wave groaned as he crawled out of a crater caused by his collision with the caverns wall after Aratas attack. The smoke cleared as Arata appeared beside him, the bottom end of his scythe wound back for a swing. Noting an approaching demon, Arata spun and used the scythes blade to divide it in two, neatly severing its core. In unison, the brainwashed Wave and yet another horned beast, threw a punch, Aratas face the aim. Weaving between the two and dematerializing his scythe, Arata grabbed both of them by their heads and shot out of the cavern, easily breaking through the rocky roof. Arriving in the forest, he spun and threw the both of them aside; Wave to a part of the mountain and the demon back into the cavern he flew out of, creating another hole at its top. Flying at the rising Wave, Arata slammed the butt of his scythe into Waves armored torso, spinning, he swung the blunt end of his scythe at Waves jaw, knocking him out cold.

”Now then… ” Arata muttered as he slowly turned around to face two demons. Leaning forward, lightning branched from Arata- burning any living thing it came in contact with -as he sprinted forward, halting a pace before the creatures and swinging his scythe in a large circular path, lightning following in its wake. A swift swing to Aratas right was nimbly avoided as the charred remains of the previous creatures scattered in the air, the force of the blow its cause.

That was quite the blow. Arata took a deep breath as he studied the two who approached slowly growling. They are truly demons, even having abilities comparable with the weaker class, fighting a group of them still places a toll on my body.

CEASE YOUR PATHETIC BEHAVIOUR, HUMAN.

That would seem to be the plan. Darting from side to side, the demons charged at Arata, the grass in their path becoming ash. Materializing the scythe in his right hand, he compressed wind in his left palm and zipped towards his adversary on his left, placing his left palm on its face, Arata fired off the compressed wind shattering the beasts face. Before the creature could regenerate, he plunged his hand in its chest and crushed its core.

”I FIND IT IRRITATING WHEN LOWER BEINGS FAIL TO KNOW THEIR PLACE. ” Arata and the storm dragons consciousness said in a terrifying harmony which seemed to achieve its aim as the last standing demon twitched and moved back slowly. A loud crunch echoed across the forest as the last demon- the alpha, Arata presumed -bit down into the retreating demon, consuming it all; its body and core.

”GO ON, PRESENT YOUR STRONGEST FORM TO ME AND I WILL CRUSH IT LIKE I DID YOUR BRETHREN. ” Arata said once more in unison with the storm dragon, as three white orbs came to life, hovering around him.

The demon growled as it grew in size, bones popped and reconstructed as its form slowly changed. Arata returned his gaze to the creature and sighed; the creature in front of him had grown to the world-class, – its abnormally large arms held its hunched body up, its horns had grown noticeably larger as they curved more, the legs assumed an awkward gorilla-like structure while the flames that poured out from its much larger eye sockets had grown as well – and he would have to defeat it without destroying it entirely, as obtaining a part of it was his aim. Shooting up to the sky, six white orbs came to life, hovering alongside the previous three.

”First I should take care of the newborns. Thunderclap arrows. ” Arata muttered as several bolts of lightning shot off the hovering orbs repeatedly, obliterating the cavern. The demons head snapped back, noting its destroyed nest and it turned to Arata, a deep growl echoing in its chest. ”Why does the destruction of your nest anger you when you killed your brethren for the sake of power. ” Arata said quietly with an irritated look as the smoke from the cavern moved to cover the demon from his view. The smoke cleared as two trees flew at Arata, the demon following right after. Flying straight towards it, Arata nimbly avoided the trees and the demons swing and grabbed it from its spine, spinning swiftly he flung it to the ground. Stomping its head down as soon as it touched the ground, Arata channeled lightning through his foot, crushing it completely. A blow to Aratas side surprised him as he slammed into a rock back first, looking up, he noticed the demons right arm as the source of the blow.

To think that it is able to move this fast even with that blow I had given.

OF COURSE, AS MUCH AS IT DISGUSTS ME TO SAY, THAT DEMON IS NOW OF THE WORLD-CLASS, AS YOU HUMANS CALL IT, AS WELL. BUT IT IS STILL NOT STRONG ENOUGH TO GIVE THE ONE WHO WIELDS MY POWER A PROBLEM, SO DO NOT PROVE ME WRONG HUMAN.

To think you would care so much about me, I never had any plans to lose as well. Arata rose with a smile as the demon followed suit, the muscles on his head regenerating. In a flash of light, its partly grown head fell from its body, dropping low, Arata avoided the demons blow and swung his scythe up, severing its left hand. Weaving through its second jab, Arata cut off the right arm from its elbow and spun to its back taking off its right leg. Grabbing its spine once more before it could completely lose its balance, he shot into the air, hurling it into the ground once more. ”Stay down this time. ” Arata muttered as he slammed the lightning coated scythe end into its chest, the shockwave spreading out and destroying the surrounding area. Falling back with a relieved sigh, Arata glanced once more at the beasts still body and leaned back on his arms relaxing. A growl from his back was silenced as Wave crushed the charging nestlings head with a swift jab.

”You are finally awake. ” Arata tilted his head back to look at Wave.

”I apologize for holding you back, Arata-sama. ” Wave said apologetically with a bow as he dematerialized his armor.

Waving his left arm, Arata turned to face Wave. ”No I should be the one to ask for forgiveness, I knew about the power of the demons but I made no plans to keep you from falling into it. For that I sincerely apologize. ” Arata said, wiping the sweat from his chin. Wave noticed his heavy breathing and the marks on his armor, frowning in realization.

He must have fought hard to protect me as well. Wave cleared his throat and moved to stand beside Aratas exhausted form. ”No, I should thank you for taking me down without any serious injuries. ” he said, instinctively rubbing his jaw with a slight wince. Arata noticed his reaction but chose to ignore it, turning his gaze back to the demons slowly regenerating form, he sat up, taking another deep breath before rising with a slight wince. Glancing at his right shoulder, Arata realized that it had been aching since after the demons blow, but as the adrenaline wore out he felt the throbbing pain on his shoulder.

Why do I go this far for promises? Arata pondered as he unconsciously reached for his right shoulder, wincing as it came in contact. He felt relief, he was one step closer to saving Seryuu but the throbbing pain from several parts of his body seemed to feed the lingering doubt in his head. Shaking his head, he turned to Wave. ”Shall we? ”

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