Chapter 283: Pros and Cons
Now then, on to the next one…
As I was considering my next action, Kiel starts poking me.
“Umm, Niichan, could you make me stronger as well?” (Kiel)
“Hmm? Well, if you wish for it, I’ll do it. If there are any other volunteers, I’ll do it for as long as they want.” (Naofumi)
I need to concentrate my attention on defending the second tower.
Reinforcing my forces is urgent.
If Kiel wants to become stronger, then granting it unto her is a simple task.
“Then do me next! I’ll fight to pay it off!” (Kiel)
“… Kiel-chan, this Onee-san doesn’t think you should rely on Naofumi-chan’s power too much.” (Sadina)
“It’s okay, Sadina-oneechan. I just want to become stronger.” (Kiel)
“The current Naofumi-chan is a tad bit different from the one you know, so I think you should think it over a bit carefully before you decide.” (Sadina)
“What are you talking about, Sadina-oneechan? The only thing strange about Niichan is the way he speaks. He went off to save sick children with whatever power he had. Nothing’s changed at all! Niichan is always Niichan.” (Kiel)
“Well, that’s true, but…” (Sadina)
“Anyways, Niichan! Make me stronger!” (Kiel)
“Fumu… understood.” (Naofumi)
Kiel’s level is actually on the higher side. But, she hasn’t achieved overwhelming strength like Raphtalia.
She learned the basics of Chi later than the rest, so you could say she’s a step behind the traitors.
As with Rat’s monster, I put Kiel into a culture tank and close the lid before activating my ability.
“What sort of modifications are you looking for?” (Naofumi)
“Let’s see…” (Kiel)
Kiel senses the link I made with my power, and she sends the image of her desired form.
“This modification will break down the wall separating man and beast. Are you okay with that?” (Naofumi)
“Yeah! This is what I want to become.” (Kiel)
It’s not outside of my ability.
Kiel’s body is naturally healthy, so she should be able to withstand the changes.
However, this one would make her step out of the Demi-Human category, and she would tread into the monster one.
I’ll… make it so that it’s possible to change her back.
It’s difficult, but this is Kiel’s wish. For me, nothing is impossible!
“With this modification, you’ll get some fatal weaknesses, so you better prepare yourself.” (Naofumi)
If I want to add the function to allow Kiel to turn back, this is my limit.
I could discard some parts of her and add functions to get rid of the weaknesses, but then there would be no point.
I don’t plan on attaining victory after using my own subordinate as sacrifices.
“After this modification, you’ll be weak against some things. If people use that to their advantage when they attack, you’ll easily lose.” (Naofumi)
“Is that true?” (Kiel)
“Yeah, so will you still… continue?” (Naofumi)
Unless I do the modification itself, I won’t be able to determine what weaknesses will form.
However, the modification window notified me that some would form.
“Yeah! Niichan, just do it all at once!” (Kiel)
“It seems you have the resolve.” (Naofumi)
“I… won’t become an existence that merely takes! Using Niichan’s power… I will be reborn!” (Kiel)
“Got it.” (Naofumi)
“Naofumi-chan. Please don’t do something that you can never take back.” (Sadina)
I’m no fool. I understand what Sadina’s trying to say.
I’ll make Kiel stronger, while keeping her as herself.
“No problem. When I make my new world, Kiel will graciously be accepted as a member of that world. There’s no way I would ever use anyone as a disposable pawn.” (Naofumi)
I activate the ability.
The liquid in the tank overflows and bubbles cloud it. Eventually they cover Kiel’s form.
“This modification will take some time. Kiel, rejoice at your rebirth.” (Naofumi)
Eventually, the processes concludes, and Kiel exited the culture tank.
“This is the result?” (Kiel)
Kiel looks over her body again and again.
Her appearance hasn’t changed at all.
“Nothing’s changed, Niichan!” (Kiel)
“If you stopped being human, I would be troubled. I added another stage to your transformation ability. If you change to that form, you will gain great strength. The weaknesses are…” (Naofumi)
I teach Kiel her own new weaknesses.
If the fakes were to learn of these, Kiel would be taken out instantly.
“Now go and test your new-found powers with Firo.” (Naofumi)
“Got it! Firo-chan, look at my new power~!” (Kiel)
And Kiel energetically runs off.
“… Then after looking over Kiel-chan and Firo-chan, I’m going to go on patrol again.” (Sadina)
“Yeah, hop to it.” (Naofumi)
After bidding farewell to Sadina, I immerse myself in my new Raphtalia creation project once more.
Eventually, the barrier protecting the second tower fades, and the fakers charge it aboard Gaelion.
The village’s slaves have come by boat as well.
But this time, they won’t be destroying it so easily.
With Motoyasu at the front, I’ve dispatched a large force there.
My numbers are greater than those invading. It’s the reverse of before!
I watch the scene play out on a screen from a distance. I’ll be able to direct the battle.
Oh? Is that nit Rat among the fake party?
I thought she was a non-combatant. What is she doing here?
“Breaking in from the front looks difficult.” (Raphtalia)
“Yeah, if I went all out, it wouldn’t be impossible, but these are Naofumi’s comrades. If we’re careless, we may put their lives in danger.” (Ren)
“… How troublesome.” (Itsuki)
The fake and Ren complain.
If you think that, then you could just refrain from getting in my way…
Know that as long as the battle takes place here, I can easily gather your information.
“Anyways, let’s try to break through and make this a swift battle! We’re heading out, everyone!” (Raphtalia)
Upon the fake’s words, the Heroes, Rishia, Rat, and the others nod.
Perhaps they infiltrated the last one like this as well.
Do you think the core is on the top floor?
Too bad, each tower is designed differently. Though the device was on top in the first one,
the barrier forming device is around the center of this one.
… It glows, so perhaps that gives away its location.
“They’re coming!” (Motoyasu)
Motoyasu stands before the invaders.
“I’ll hold down Motoyasu! Everyone go forward!” (Ren)
Ren stands before Motoyasu, and the rest of them proceed.
They’re both heroes on approximately even footing. This battle will be decided by how Motoyasu’s three contribute.
“Are you up for it? This is getting to be a pain.”
“Mo-kun seems motivated, so we’ll have to do a bit of work.”
“Yeah. Or else Motoyasu-san will be troubled.”
In front of the three unmotivated birds, a certain life-form shows itself.
It seems Gaelion and Taniko will be taking on the three.
Ah, by the way, because of my barrier devices, teleporting to run away is impossible.
“Motoyasu! Quit it with this farce and help us revert Naofumi!” (Ren)
Ren releases a Meteor Sword at Motoyasu.
Motoyasu holds his spear out front and redirects it. And continuing with that movement, he proceeds to thrust.
“Revert Father-in-Law? What are you talking about? Firo-tan likes Father-in-Law as he is now, does she not? That means there is only one thing for me to do. For Firo-tan’s sake, I will protect him!” (Motoyasu)
“Stop! If you do that, do you realize what Naofumi will do when he regains his senses!? He’ll definitely be mad at you!” (Ren)
It seems I don’t have to focus on this battle.
I focus on the traitors that slipped past his defenses.
I scroll through the channels on my surveillance system.
There they are!
“They’re coming one after the other!”
Damn! Those fakes are proceeding while cutting down the Raphs I put so much effort into making.
The current Raphs can’t lift a finger against Heroes, I guess.
What the hell is Sadina doing!?
I searched the channels for her and found her holding off another group of invading slaves.
She’s surrounded by Raphs, so she’s fighting without using magic.
Quite a number of people are getting by her.
I guess this is due to me not calling for a meeting earlier.
There’s no reason to dispatch the Raphs and Sadina to the same place.
Ah! The defensive line is broken.
The only room left is the one with the device.
This time, Atlas, Firo, and Fohl are defending it.
“Oneechan, you came again? I won’t let you break this one.” (Firo)
“That’s right, Raphtalia-san. Give up and go home.” (Atlas)
“I will… I will make sure Atlas doesn’t get injured… for that, I will… fight!” (Fohl)
Even Fohl seems relatively motivated.
It was a good choice pairing him with Atlas.
“Just open your eyes already!” (Raphtalia)
“Oneechan is the one who’s blind. Doesn’t master look like he’s having so much fun right now?” (Firo)
“That is not Naofumi-sama! Naofumi once told me that you once prevented him from going insane when he used the Wrath Shield. Then why won’t you try and save him this time?” (Raphtalia)
Ah, something like that did happen.
To prevent my rage from going out of control, I needed the Real Raphtalia or Firo to help me.
The bundle of instincts, Firo, is siding with me.
That means I’m not going out of control.
There’s no way I’m wrong.
“Let me explain this one. That time, Firo saw that the power was corrupting Naofumi-sama’s true nature. But this time is different. Naofumi-sama’s nature hasn’t changed much. That’s why Firo and I will stand by this Naofumi-sama.” (Atlas)
“Yeah, the current master is… really happy and… he treats Firo and everyone well. Firo is also having fun, so she like the current master.” (Firo)
“Yes. Naofumi-sama lived in a different world from us, so no one can understand his true heart or his values. But to reject him merely because his tone of speech changed… something like that is impossible for me.” (Atlas)
“Is that something you should be saying to me? If he ever regains his senses, do you understand just how much pain and grief Naofumi-sama will go through as he reflects upon his actions? As he reflects on all of your actions?” (Raphtalia)
“Even so, I cannot become Naofumi-sama’s enemy. No matter what happens.” (Atlas)
“Firo, I’m going to give Naofumi-sama quite a lecture after this!” (Raphtalia)
“But master is master, you know? When Oneechan wasn’t there, he cried to himself. Why won’t Oneechan understand?” (Firo)
“N-Naofumi did…?” (Raphtalia)
The fake’s face seems to waver for a moment.
But she soon takes up her old expression.
“… Melty-chan is angry!” (Raphtalia)
“If Melty-chan were to meet Master now, I think she would accept him.” (Firo)
Perhaps her anger reached its peak. The fake clenches her sword and takes a stance.
She wraps an aura around herself, showing that she’s prepared to use Hengen Musou.
Where did she learn it? Why can this fake use Hengen Musou as well?
“It appears that this matter cannot be resolved with words alone.” (Raphtalia)
“It’s good that you understand. I knew it would come to this sooner or later.” (Atlas)
“I think the current Master is happier, you know. He laughs to himself a lot! Firo decided she would protect Master’s smile.” (Firo)
Responding to Raphtalia’s aura, Firo, Atlas, and Fohl release their own.
“Hero of the Bow-san, Rishia-san, and Rat-san. Are you ready?” (Raphtalia)
“Fuee… I never thought I would end up fighting Firo-chan.” (Rishia)
“Yes, I’m ready.” (Rat)
The moment after they exchange glances at one another, the battle starts.
Atlas and Firo rush at their own choice of fakes.
Itsuki and Rishia intercept them from afar… or at least they try to. Fohl knocks their attacks out of the air.
“I won’t let you get in the way.” (Fohl)
“Rishia-san, what should I do? If I get serious, I think I may fatally injure Fohl-san.” (Itsuki)
“Fuee! That’s something we must avoid at all costs!” (Rishia)
The fake imitates Raphtalia and hides herself.
But that is pointless.
“It’s useless!” (Atlas)
Atlas doesn’t trace objects with her eyes. She follows them by sensing their chi.
She runs after and thrusts at the hidden fake.
Firo’s also able to see through it with her feral instincts. The fake is underestimating them.
This time, Atlas is the first to strike.
“Ku… Musou Kassei!” (Raphtalia)
“That’s something we can do too~” (Firo)
“Yes, Firo-chan! Let’s do it!” (Atlas)
Atlas and Firo power up to match the fake.
For them to have to double team her… perhaps it’s due to the support fire that occasionally pierces Fohl’s defenses. There’s no helping it.
Be careful. Don’t deal any decisive blows.