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Published at 14th of May 2016 08:53:06 AM

Chapter 19

She Professed Herself the Pupil of the Wise Man – Volume 1, Chapter 19


A flower garden with a white, soaring pillar right at its center. That place was currently serving as the background for the confrontation between Mira and the demonic beast Cockatrice, with the latter being accompanied by its summoner, the Lesser Demon.

“You crafty little piece of…”

Just when she had thought they were about to fight, both of her enemies simply ran away, forcing her to rush after the two. Then, a few moments later, with the figure of the garden in the background, the girl finally managed to catch up with them; that being said, the Cockatrice wasn’t a monster that could easily be caught simply by running. She only succeeded in doing so mainly because of her equipment and the terrain. There were many articles worn by Mira that held within them special effects and, of course, the ability to amplify her running power was one of those. Additionally, she was fortunate enough that because of its large build, the demon beast had a hard time running through the forest, so it simply resorted to jumping.

Now, after regaining the considerable distance that had been put between her and the monster, the girl summoned an extra three Black Knights and had them surround the Cockatrice. As such, including the two standing in wait by her side, there was a total of five conjured knights in that place. Apparently vexed, the Lesser Demon kept glaring at their ghastly figures, an overwhelming sense of intimidation being emitted by them even as they stood there, motionless.

If it was against a Dark Knight, the demonic beast had the confidence that it could shake free from its opponent. And without a doubt, the fact was that the knight’s pace would never reach that of the Cockatrice. However, the number of Dark Knights there had further increased and, consequently, the Lesser Demon now felt regret over its decision to merely judge Mira by her appearance. Yet, it did not give up.

Shouting with a bawling voice, the Lesser Demon pointed at the young girl. Immediately, with its eye seething in madness, the Cockatrice released a strange sound and broke into a run towards Mira. While advancing, every time its feet hit the ground the earth would be gouged out, throwing in the air the thick vegetation that was once there. Naturally, the beast possessed an enormous mass that was directly proportional to its large body, and just that monster’s movements could be enough to blow away most things in the middle of its path.

In spite of that, the demonic beast’s claws and beak never reached Mira. The Cockatrice’s massive body began to lurch to one side as its right leg, that was covered in strong scales, suffered a deep wound—the Dark Knights that were surrounding the monster had only aimed and slashed against that leg.

(When it has something to protect, it will not even hesitate to throw itself in a suicide attack…)

Promptly, the girl had made her decision and gave an order to her summoned units. Since she didn’t know how tough the beast’s leg could be, she settled with an all-out attack against it and managed to successfully wound the Cockatrice, inhibiting any further assaults from that monster as its means of running was damaged. As a result, without sufficient support for its large build, the Cockatrice retreated while dragging its right foot.

But then, it happened. In a corner of her field of view, from a place that would be difficult to notice had Mira not been paying attention, the Lesser Demon rushed out towards the flower field.

(Hm? Did it use the Cockatrice as a decoy?)

While using the beast’s massive body to conceal itself, the demon had moved to a distant location. Then, before the girl became aware of that, the Lesser Demon came up with an urgent plan to carry out its precious objective. It just needed a few meters to reach its goal, so while seemingly assured of that victory, the demon let out its usual, annoying laugh and flaunted a disgusting expression, full of joy, in the direction of Mira.

The girl, however, simply stood still and only turned her head to look at her enemy—although there wasn’t even a need for that. She had already predicted that the Lesser Demon’s target was the garden. What it actually intended to do there was still a question to be answered, but the girl was certain that nothing good would come of that. As a result, it could be said that as long as the Lesser Demon never reached the flower bed, it would be fine.

A gust of wind ran through the grasslands. And within that thundering, furious gale was rage itself, clad in jet-black. Suddenly, the laughter that could be heard all around stopped and was replaced, in the next moment, by a shriek full of hatred that covered the entire area. Nonetheless, that same sound also lasted for a single instant before it quickly disappeared.

Lying on the ground, right at the destination of the wind that had been previously blown, were the remains of the Lesser Demon, its body swallowed up and bisected by a cruel storm of black. Upon closer examination, while the demon’s hollow pupils looked up at the sky, it was possible to see a distorted expression on its dead face, almost as if dread itself had been smeared all over it. Finally, standing right next to the body was a Dark Knight, its sword wet with blood.

That individual was one of the two summons that were by Mira’s side. After arriving at her current location, the girl had ordered the knight to eliminate any enemies that approached the flower field, so it quickly executed its mission. Therefore, she had no need to move even a single step from that place.

As if nothing had happened, the knight calmly distanced itself from the corpse and walked towards its master. Then, from behind, a black mist rose into the air: it was the substance made of pure malice from the Lesser Demon’s dead body.

“Wait… what is happening there?”

Since there was nothing nearby that could be cursed, the mist was supposed to disperse and disappear with the wind. But instead, while apparently displaying some kind of will, the smog began flying straight ahead. As something that she had never seen or heard about, the girl vigilantly observed the floating movements of the grudge-like substance, completely leaving the problem of dealing with the Cockatrice to her other three Dark Knights. Slowly but surely, the black mist drew close to its supposed foe, the summoned knight, and merely passed by it, continuing to move away from Mira.

(What kind of phenomenon is that? It is as if the substance is actually wandering around, seeking a target to curse…)

Rubbing her chin with a finger, the girl squinted, using her eyes to follow the smog.

Without the slightest breeze going through the grass-covered plain, the Dark Knight’s footsteps could be perfectly heard even at a long distance. Then, just like the laughter of the now dead Lesser Demon, those sounds suddenly stopped as the knight returned to the girl’s side. Immediately after, coming from the location where the substance of malice had arrived at, a groan-like breathing faintly reached Mira’s ears.

“So… does it really intend to curse that?”

When the wobbling mist finally reached its planned destination, what had been lying in wait was the Cockatrice, its figure standing right there in silence even though the monster’s eye still seethed. If it tried to move just an inch, the Dark Knights would cut it down; the Cockatrice clearly understood that, despite having its body covered in wounds. As a result, while boiling with an agonizing and insane fury, the beast still managed to control the urge to go on a slaughter and quietly obeyed the last orders of its master, the Lesser Demon.

Abruptly, after the smog of hatred reached the monster’s side, that black substance swelled up and, almost like it was being sucked up, gained speed to coil around the demon beast’s tattered body, going inside it through its wounds, eyes and mouth. In the end, the Cockatrice’s transformation was dramatic.

As the black fog grew thinner, the monster’s physique distorted into a larger form, to the point that it seemed dangerously close to rupturing and exploding like a bomb. Then, the beast groaned in an extremely sad and pitiful roar. Every single spot on its body that had been wounded was closed up by the swelled up flesh, and the single eye that still harbored an intense desire to kill became bloodshot, revealing an even stronger color of madness.


Following the transformation, at long last the mist dispersed completely, signaling the conclusion of the curse. That substance of malice was supposed to only curse objects with power stored inside of them, so when it targeted—of all things—a high-class demonic beast, the smog managed to do something that, until that very moment, had been considered unthinkable to happen.

(To think this situation would occur… is it also because of the game turning into reality?)

Strengthening her wariness, Mira examined the appearance of the Cockatrice after it became two—no, three times as large than before. Whether the beast had lost the focus from its eye or was still adapting to its new body, it looked around blankly and casually spread its wings, shivering. Over and over, the Cockatrice repeated those actions.

(Well, at any rate, looks like it did not turn into something troublesome.)

Along with a bitter smile, the girl sighed and gazed at the monster’s new form that, now, looked considerably different from its previous figure. Then, at the same time, the three Dark Knights assaulted the Cockatrice in a jet-black storm.

“Oh… apparently its toughness has increased.”

Not long ago, the knights’ attacks would tear the demon beast’s flesh, spraying blood all over the place, but now it was completely different. Although their blades still damaged the monster’s legs, wings and torso, the wounds never reached further than its skin. In addition, with every passing second, those injuries would get instantly healed, leaving behind just slight scars.

And yet, the Dark Knights did not stop; on the contrary, their swords grew faster and began drawing even sharper trajectories. As they continued to attack, when one of their strikes finally managed to gouge the beast’s flesh, it also brought the Cockatrice back to its senses; until now, it had been absentmindedly observing the surroundings.

With a glare, the moment it perceived the figures of its three foes, the monster’s crimson, bloodshot eye opened wide. Immediately, that same eye became dyed by hatred and, as the Cockatrice reached its boiling point, it strongly flapped its wings, apparently trying to ward off the knights that persistently continued their attacks. As soon as it did that, a squall broke out and mowed down the surrounding area.

Trees began to creak, their leaves scattering and disappearing in the air while the grasslands swayed violently, like a sea in the middle of a storm. It wouldn’t even be an exaggeration to consider that wind as a shock wave, seeing that Mira’s small body was sent floating away from the ground. Then, the moment the storm calmed down, a large number of splinters that had been blown away began slowly falling all around the place.

“Managing to do this much with just a flap of its wings… I guess it became considerably stronger.”

As though stepping in the air, the girl kicked it twice—then three times—to decelerate and land on the ground without a problem. Her knights, that had also been blown away, quickly regained their postures and surrounded the beast from three sides. While focusing on the Dark Knight in front of it, the Cockatrice’s accumulated rage was ignited when it noticed that enemy calmly preparing to attack with the black sword. Then, from the mouth that seemed to completely split open, erupted an explosive, sky-shattering roar. Be it the heavens or the earth, the very space itself trembled with the thunderous sound that was released. It was so loud, the intense vibrations on Mira’s eardrums almost numbed them, causing the girl to grimace and take half a step back, covering both ears with the cuffs of her robe.

“Good grief, what a noisy fellow…”

Without even reaching her own ears, Mira’s annoyed mutter was immediately drowned out by a sequence of metallic sounds. In the middle of the grasslands, the roar had signaled the beginning of the battle between the Dark Knights and the Cockatrice. Screaming in a frenzy, the monster made use of its deadly body and charged against its enemies. While not showing the slightest hint of being perturbed by the oncoming attack, the girl’s summoned units received it, moving their swords. The Cockatrice’s fierce strike held an incredible amount of destructive power, piercing the ground and slicing off the air. In addition, after taking a form ready for battle, the beast’s skin became even harder and the knights could no longer cut through it as easily as before.

However, those were the only things that had impressed Mira. Of course, anyone would be amazed after seeing the power of that blow; it was strong to the point that even her wouldn’t come out unscathed after receiving such an attack. Yet, it was just that, nothing else. Originally, the Cockatrice would make use of its dangerous special power and, together with its nimble body, deliver a powerful combo attack. So the strike the beast just did, by swinging its entire frame with all its might, appeared pathetic when compared with the combined attack. It was akin to fastening a lump of iron to the pointy end of a great spear, completely destroying its specialty.

If one were to talk about the sole advantage the monster currently held, it would be the Cockatrice’s tough body that was able to withstand the Dark Knight’s blades. But even then, it still gradually received damage, and it was only a matter of time until that large figure would fall down, defeated. Despite that, Mira had been observing the battle with a displeased look on her face. It was indeed only a matter of time for it to end, but at that rate it looked like the fight would conclude after the sunset. Although she could easily solve that problem by just increasing the number of Dark Knights, Mira had a stronger desire to understand the current state of the new reality she was in. As a result, she had been wanting to confirm the behavior and degree of coordination between her summoned units. If the girl tried to add more knights to the battle, she wouldn’t be able to give her full attention to every single one of them and would, eventually, lose details from their fight.

(Anyway, I still have time even if I do not do it right now. It should be fine to try things out without rushing, no?)

Since Mira had just barely started living in that new world, there was no need for her to act in a hurry. Then, rather than experiment with that situation, she decided to be patient and analyze the world slowly, one thing at a time.

“Hmm? What is that?”

When Mira tried to promptly settle the fight by summoning more Dark Knights, she noticed, from the corner of her eye, a certain crystal that shone ominously. Lying at the edge of the flower garden, that object fell on the ground after its owner, the Lesser Demon, had been cruelly bisected by her knight—it was still possible to see the corpse right by the crystal’s side. Moved by curiosity, the girl approached the item and picked it up. The crystal, that was painted in a dull, black color and emitted some kind of pulsating light, was, without a doubt, the Demon’s Crystal.

The Demon’s Crystal was a special item that only Lesser Demons of the Summoning kind held. Nevertheless, upon the demon’s death, it would always disappear along with the corpse, so the players considered that impossible to obtain item as mere graphics in the game.

“Oho… ohohoho. Now that is how you should grab my attention.”

While observing the item in her hand, Mira revealed a wild smirk. Now that the game world was real, instead of simply disappearing, beings like monsters would leave behind a corpse when defeated and, eventually, return to the nature after decomposing. As such, that natural cycle ended up granting her an unexpected favor: the possibility to obtain a Demon’s Crystal, the unique crystal used by Lesser Demons to perform summonings. Considering Mira held an extraordinary interest in summoning techniques, since the very start she had been greatly fascinated by the summoning catalyst employed by the demon.

As the girl analyzed the crystal, the sound of something violently colliding with an object reached her ears. Almost instantly, a body clad in black passed by her side—the Cockatrice had sent a Dark Knight flying away. While being subjected by the momentum of the beast’s strike, the knight bored onto the garden behind Mira and finally stopped after the upper half of its body had been buried into the ground. However, in the next moment, with a conduct that looked undoubtedly impossible for a human to perform, the black knight rose up and rushed out like a bullet.

(It looks exactly like an attributed crystal… but the tinge is different from one related to the Darkness attribute. It is not supposed to shine in such a disgusting way.)

In spite of that, Mira had been so engrossed with the item that the ongoing battle didn’t even enter her mind. It was the first time she ever held a Demon’s Crystal and when she looked at it, Mira was immediately reminded of an attributed crystal. That kind of item could be used by a variety of different fields and, specifically, was a well-known, all-purpose material in the area of summoning.


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Summoning Experts possessed a certain ability called “Attribute Shift”. It allowed them to take an object with pure attribute effects and use it as a catalyst, enhancing their Armor Spirit with the same attribute. As a result, when summoned with the help of an Attribute Shift, most of the Armor Spirit’s strength would have the characteristic of the effect contained within the used catalyst.

“Trying it out might be fun.”

Although it emitted an unfamiliar color, that dark crystal had traits that greatly resembled those of an attributed crystal. Then, as soon as she decided to try an attribute shifted summon with the item, Mira immediately put those thoughts into action.

In the grasslands, the sounds of the Dark Knight’s swords and the Cockatrice’s roar continued to ring out, incessantly. The area where that fierce battle raged was supposed to be covered in green, but now it was completely bare of any vegetation, with clouds of dust rising and dancing at every moment the fighters clashed. While looking at the space in front of the battle, the girl held the Demon’s Crystal over her head.

【Summoning:Attribute Shifted Dark Knight】

Applying the same feeling she had whenever she wanted to summon a Dark Knight, Mira added just a little change to the process and released the power contained within the crystal. Then, the magic circle that had appeared in front of her began to absorb the energy gushing out of the Demon’s Crystal, growing twice, thrice as large as its initial state.

“How should I put it… this is really weeeeeird.”

In a fraction of a second, the magic circle was dyed in a poisonous-looking black and began squirming around, looking as if it were the entrails of some creature. Having felt signs of something unusual happening, the young girl hurriedly jumped away from that place. Immediately after, just like a clogged blood vessel, the circle didn’t resist the sudden swelling and exploded, ejecting and spraying its blood—the magical power—in all directions.

At first, the girl wondered if the summoning had failed after seeing such a grand spectacle before her eyes. However, when the slimy vestiges of magic power stopped raining down, something massive was filling up that previously empty spot. It occupied so much space one would think that all the trees surrounding the place had been gathered at that exact location.

Standing there, majestically, was a being that wore an armor just like a knight and had a tough physique, similar to a wild beast’s. The creature, clad in a black color that seemed to have been born from the darkness itself, revealed its shining, blood-soaked pupils. At the same time, it made one of its weapons apparent: instead of possessing a sword, that being had a gaping mouth filled with countless fangs, each lined up to form a saw-like pattern.

“Should I call that thing a Dark… Beast?”

It was easy to notice that the creature’s appearance was quite different from the usual Dark Knight, but Mira could clearly sense the link between her and that summoned being. Consequently, she could understand that the ability she had used was successful and that the thing in front of her was the result of the summoning process. Then, after realizing that fact, Mira decided to name her servant based solely on its looks.

The being that appeared after the girl took the Demon’s Crystal and performed the attribute shifted summon was, one way or another, a monster. Its body, made up by a combination of traits from wild beasts such as lions and tigers, seemed to have been forcibly clad in a warped, distorted version of the Dark Knight’s armor. The magic power that had been scattered by the summoning ritual was on the Dark Beast, sticking to it like some kind of viscous blood. In addition, that substance slightly flickered, giving an impression that the monster was breathing through its entire body.

With such a bizarre appearance, anyone could easily expect the Dark Beast to begin rampaging on the spot, but it simply stayed by Mira’s side, waiting for further orders as it lied down on the ground, in a posture resembling that of a hungry beast aiming for its prey.

Vol.1 Chapter 19

“Hmm, at least I guess that it will listen to my orders.”

At first glance, she couldn’t feel the slightest traces of intelligence within the summoned being; however, since it obeyed a simple command given by her, Mira looked up at it and made that assertion.

Meanwhile, in the battle between the Cockatrice and the Dark Knights, the injuries suffered by both parties were still too small when compared with the damage done to their surroundings. On the demonic beast’s side, not only did it obtain a self-healing ability, but its toughness also greatly increased. On the knight’s side, albeit limited, they also possessed a regenerative power and their evasion abilities were high. Even then, that battle did not seem to be heading to a stalemate, since the Dark Knights were superior due to their numbers and coordination, so if the fight were to continue without any changes, sooner or later they would obtain victory against their foe.

Yet, at that pace, it was clear that they would only be able to finish everything by sunset.

“Let me see, how about you show me your true strength?”

Speaking to the Dark Beast, Mira looked at the battlefield and, after waiting for the right time, pulled back her three knights. The rampaging Cockatrice didn’t even care that its enemies were suddenly trying to move away, and simply charged blindly toward the foes before it. While concentrating solely on destruction, the demonic beast shook the ground as it ran with its thick, tree-like legs, and exactly when it tried to thrust its large body against the knights, something happened.

Accompanied by a dull and heavy metallic noise, as if something had exploded below the earth, the entire place was filled with the sound of the ground rumbling. A moment later, that sound was substituted by the roaring cry of the Cockatrice, full of grief. Cutting into the battleground, the Dark Beast had stopped with its whole body the strike coming from the Cockatrice’s large build. Enraged, the demonic beast brandished its neck to snap against the new enemy that had appeared, but Mira’s new summon howled and, at the same time, used its gaping mouth to return the bite, with the clear intention of ripping off the attacker’s flesh. Seemingly suffering, the Cockatrice’s dragon-like tail hit the ground countless times, shaking the ground and releasing a booming sound with every strike.

(So it does not understand detailed orders, huh… I wonder if the only instructions it follows are “stay” and “attack”…)

In the same way as what she had done with her Dark Knights, the young girl sent several orders to her beast. Nonetheless, every single one of them was ignored and the Dark Beast merely continued its fight. In other words, it could be said that, currently, the creature was acting on its own instincts.

“Guess I need to… check it first.”


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While looking away from what was happening in front of her eyes, Mira murmured some kind of excuse.

———–

“Just… what happened here?”

“Hm? Ooh, is that you, Reynard?”

The instant Mira heard a voice by her side calling out to her, she turned around and saw both Reynard and Joachim there. With a stiff expression, they were looking at what was unfolding before them—a deadly battle in which both sides completely disregarded their own defenses and focused on attacking only.

“Although the one over there seems to have suffered a considerable change in its appearance, I believe I can recognize it as the Cockatrice. But the other one…”

Seemingly worried as he fixed his eyes on the situation in front of him, Joachim still calmly analyzed it. Neither of the two beasts were pulling back and, while still entangled in their battle, tried to destroy each other’s bodies with pure, undiluted violence. Fang against fang, claw against claw, roar against roar. Even while dyed in their own blood, instead of decreasing their pace, the Cockatrice and Dark Beast raged on, their battle actually intensifying more and more.

“This is what happened after I performed a summon.”

Not knowing what to say anymore about that situation, Mira pointed out what she had done and shrugged.

The three just stared, dumbfounded, at the scene unfolding before them. If one were to dare to express that spectacle in words, it would surely be something out of a tokusatsu[1]movie, where two monsters fought in a great decisive battle. So great they have reached a point at which no one could see the small birds that were flying from the surrounding woods anymore, and even the critters that inhabited the nearby places had completely fled to take refuge from that maelstrom of fury.

“By the way, I cannot see Garrett around here. Where is he?”

Asked the girl, trying to forcefully change the topic.

“Ah, I left the task of taking care of the monsters’ corpses to him. Usually, I am the one in charge of that, but he asked to do the job so I could rush to your aid, Mira-sama. And surely, if we are talking about an opponent on the level of the Cockatrice, of course I would feel worried. However, now I see that there was no need to assist you in battle…”

Answered Joachim as he gazed, with a distant look on his face, at the two rampaging monsters. Immediately after, a ray of red light surged from the other side of the battlefield.

(That Garrett… he does not need to worry about me.)

Upon seeing the swaying, crimson column of fire blazing in the distance, rather than imagining the flames burning everything, Mira envisioned Garrett’s figure there, his face showing a bright smile while he operated the jeep’s turret. After a short while, it seemed like the disposal of corpses had finished as the pillar of flame lost strength and began disappearing.

Then, at that moment, something red was once again launched towards the sky. In quick succession, a certain shriek resounded across the grasslands, cutting off the usual howls of intimidation the beasts had been launching against each other just a few seconds ago. The cry, that came out of the Cockatrice’s throat, was a sign to the shower of fluttering red in the air: the demonic beast’s own blood. Looking carefully, it was possible to notice that one of its wings had been ripped from the base, and the blood was gushing forth from that wound.

“How… fierce.”

Was what Reynard muttered, involuntarily. With a keen gaze directed toward the Dark Beast, a creature able to fight against a Cockatrice that had its ferocity boosted, the Knight realized how bottomless was the area of summoning, causing his evaluation of Mira to gradually change.

The Dark Beast then made a motion to spit something it had been holding with its mouth, revealing an abundant amount of blood dripping from that place. What actually fell on the ground was the Cockatrice’s lost wing, its tragically sorry state indicating how savage the entire fight was.

And yet, the demonic beast did not stop, for its eye still shone with both insanity and the will to fight. When it warded off its foe’s charge with the remaining wing, the Cockatrice’s massive body shook violently, apparently dragged by the swinging action of that impromptu shield. Taking into account its excessively large build, the Cockatrice’s sense of balance was broken the moment it lost one of its wings, so it couldn’t control its movements after thrusting itself with the mighty physical strength it possessed.

That opportunity wasn’t overlooked by Mira’s summoned beast. As soon as the Cockatrice staggered, the Dark Beast firmly planted its four legs on the ground and split its mouth open, seemingly ready to roar. Instead, escaping from the bottom of the monster’s throat was a blinding, glimmering light.

“This magical power is…”

Sensing the enormous amount of magical power being gathered inside the Dark Beast’s mouth, Joachim opened its eyes wide in surprise. Promptly, right before the black monstrosity steadied its aim, the Cockatrice turned around and swung in a huge arc its tail—covered in thick and tough scales—to deliver a strike against the side of its enemy’s face. Accompanied by a heavy and dull impact sound, the Dark Beast’s body swayed dangerously. However, that wasn’t enough to stop it, because a split second after getting hit, the beast released a beam of light from its mouth.

A thunderous roar resounded in the distance and even the air itself trembled as soon as the that dazzling flash came out. In spite of that, the beam didn’t hit the Cockatrice directly. What saved the demonic beast from the line of fire was its tail strike, which managed to turn away the Dark Beast’s face. With the aiming disturbed, the light ray gouged the ground and teared open the forest in its path. In addition, as if giving the finishing blow, explosive flames erupted from the trenches that had just been formed on the grasslands’ surface.

Before everyone’s eyes, the scene that unfolded was akin to the episode of an apocalyptic war being acted out. As they looked at the towering walls of dust that had been formed, each whirling to the tune of a tremendous rumbling, Reynard and Joachim weren’t the only ones standing still, looking stupefied; even Mira herself couldn’t help but display the same reaction.


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Nonetheless, disregarding the three onlookers’ state, the battle continued. Appearing to struggle for the very air that transmitted them, two deep and angry roars filled the surroundings. And then, all of a sudden, one of the air-shattering sounds vanished.

It was the Cockatrice’s voice. The demonic beast’s large body fell, taking with it the fierce howls it had been releasing. At a closer look, its left leg had been cleanly burned to ashes from the knee down. It seemed like the beam of light had completely missed its target, but it actually slightly grazed the demon’s leg.

“Looks like the fight is over.”

Although it now lied on the ground, through the shine on its sole pupil, the injured beast still showed a will to continue the battle; however, against the foe it had been fighting on almost even grounds, without one wing and a leg its chances of winning were gone. Realizing that, Reynard revealed a somewhat relieved expression on his face. Afterwards, the Dark Beast that was calmly standing in place just needed to finish off the writhing Cockatrice, be it by swinging down its claws or by stabbing the demon’s body with its fangs.

Instead, what came a moment later made a chill run down the spines of the observers. The Dark Beast had braced itself on its four legs, mouth wide open.

“This magical power…! Does it intend to shoot that thing again!?”

After a single look at the terrible spectacle promoted by the monster’s previous attack, Joachim asked a question in panic, to which Mira promptly turned her face away and hesitated to speak. She did try to do it several times already, but as expected, the Dark Beast wasn’t following any of her detailed commands. In other words, it could be said that the girl’s summoned beast was merely acting on its own instincts.

“Hey… this might be worse than the one from earlier.”

Said Reynard while directing his sight once more towards the monster. Since it apparently had enough time now, the magic energy being gathered for the light beam had already exceeded the amount used for the previous one; furthermore, with each second that passed, the accumulated power grew even stronger. In proportion to that growth in strength, the light leaking out of the Dark Beast’s mouth began shining brightly, its form resembling that of sharp blades. It was like the sun itself was being held hostage deep inside the beast’s throat, giving the dangerous feeling that it could end up exploding at any moment.

The first ray of light had been launched when the monster, after taking the same posture it displayed now, charged the attack for about two or three seconds. But currently, it was accumulating power for around ten seconds already. With that amount of magical power amassed, one could only wonder about how strong the attack would be. Instantly, the image of everything in her field of view getting razed to the ground, scorched, passed through the girl’s mind. That thought wasn’t an exaggeration, as even Joachim envisioned a similar scenery after observing the large quantity of magical energy being accumulated.

Immediately, a huge magic circle appeared at the Dark Beast’s feet. It shone in the same poisonous-looking color of the previous magic circle used to summon the beast, but instead of summoning, it began to pull the black monster in. As soon as Mira cancelled her summon, the process of sending the beast away began. Almost like being dragged by the gates of hell, the Dark Beast was getting swallowed by the pulsating magic circle, a scene that took the three observers’ breath away.

Still facing the Cockatrice even as it was being dismissed, the monster revealed in its eyes the will to fight. When the only thing left to disappear in the circle was its head, the brightness coming from the Dark Beast’s mouth increased in an instant.

“Mira-sama!”

“On it!”

A split second later, Mira gave a command to her Dark Knight on standby. Then, dashing like the wind, the knight followed its summoner’s orders and hit the Dark Beast right in the jaw. Simultaneously, a flash clad in a spectacular radiance surged toward the heavens. As the condensed magical energy pierced through the sky and above, it eventually dispersed, turning into miniscule particles of light that kept raining all around the place. By now, the Dark Beast—the main culprit of that grand show—was nowhere to be found, its dismissal process concluded.

Despite finally feeling a sense of relief, the three people caught sight of another problem. With the wound on its leg closed, the Cockatrice let out a groan and forced itself up from the ground. Then, even without a wing and a leg, the demonic beast released a roar filled with madness, making a display of the overwhelming insanity it possessed.

“It might be wounded, but don’t even think of getting careless.”

“I know that.”

To the intense show of vigor before them, once again both Reynard and Joachim braced themselves, ready to face their enemy.

“Step back. This one is my responsibility.”

While stopping the other two with a hand, Mira faced the Cockatrice. Shortly after that, all of a sudden, nearly twenty Dark Knights appeared and surrounded the beast in the blink of an eye.

“Hngh…!”

“Now that is something…”

Seeing the unexpected appearance of the group of knights, the Knight and the Expert revealed an expression of astonishment on their faces. Forget the Summoning Experts in the army, not even Cleos, the Elder Substitute, could do something like simultaneously summoning in an instant that number of Dark Knights. Just what kind of meaning did the title of Sage’s Pupil hold? While the two were at a loss for words to describe how bottomless it appeared to be, the fight had been settled.

Even with its body covered in wounds, the Cockatrice still held the advantage in physical strength. On the other hand, that wasn’t enough to beat the sheer number of foes and their violent strikes; as a result, its knee gave up and, for the second time, the demonic beast fell on the ground. Then, there was no way for the Cockatrice to resist anymore, so its entire body suffered all the slashing and piercing attacks coming from the swarm of knights, at a rate that its regenerative power couldn’t keep up with. Blood gushed out from several places on the demon’s body, causing the earth below it to get quickly dyed in dark red.

At first sight, what was there looked like a small hill of squirming black, but with a closer inspection of the scene, it appeared as the performance of a lynch mob. Around them, the Dark Beast’s parting gift continued to fall in the form of a rain of light, causing one to wonder just how much magical power had been collected for the attack.

If the observers were to turn around, they would see shining light particles fluttering all over the richly colored flower field, the gentle addition of the wind evoking the image of a smiling angel, its whispers sparkling in the air. Standing in a place that could be said to be between Heaven and Hell, Reynard and Joachim quietly turned to face the “Heaven” side.

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