The Demon’s Medicine
When I opened my eyes, I saw light streaming in from the gaps in the tent.
What I could hear from outside were the voices of our allies still fighting against the dead men of Bahnseim. All through the night…. When you think of how they’d fought through it, you could only question their sanity.
No, I doubt they were sane from the start. If this is what it meant to be charmed by Celes, then I really have no words other than madness.
Raising my upper half, I covered my face with both hands.
“What could it be!”
Entering my tent, Monica was carrying a bucket of hot water, with all the preparations to outfit me in order. Her face was red, and I’d like to think it was just my imagination she looked excited.
“I’ll get ready. Tell everyone to gather up… I’m going out on the front lines.”
Monica immediately went into preparations. Leaving the bucket on a nearby wooden crate, she got out the armor she had polished yesterday some time when I hadn’t been looking.
When I rose from the bed, I asked her for a report on the situation.
“How are we faring?”
Monica prepared as she reported to me. There wasn’t any time, so she continued her explanations without stopping her hands.
“At present, a change has yet to come to our position as superiors. But if things continue like this for a few days, it is thinkable that the situation will reverse. Casualties have exceeded our predicted numbers. At this rate, a snag will come out in the plan.”
So it wasn’t a situation where we could win without much input. Then I’ve no choice but to move, and I had received the power to do it from the Fifth.
Could it be that rather than accepting his power, I’d have liked to accept his advice surely means that I’m weakening emotionally?
Shaking my head, I let out a sigh.
“Is something the matter? Are you unsatisfied with this Monica? What a luxurious chicken you are. Just say it. I’ll correct it at once, so out with it!”
Seeing her so desperate, I smiled a bit.
“It’s nothing. Just be as you are. You’re the best.”
There, Monica silently stared at me.
“… Please… please say it one more time! Like, it was a surprise attack, so I wasn’t able to turn on the audio and visual recordings in time, so if possible, once more with that smile. No, I do have it stored, but I’d like to preserve it in the highest resolution possible!”
She was saying more incomprehensible things, so I brought my hand to my chin in thought. In the end, I decided not to answer to her request.
“Sorry. I get the feeling it’ll be more interesting if I don’t say it, so I won’t.”
Monica bit down on her white apron regretfully.
“So that’s how you plan to toy with me! How unfortunate! Vexed as I am, don’t make light of this Monica who can even enjoy this treatment from you! Now toy with my affections more!”
As always, her high specs didn’t alter her unfortunate parts. The same Monica as ever.
I outfitted myself in the early morning, and stepped onto the battlefield. Today, May said she wanted me to ride her quilin form, so I equipped a harness, and mounted her.
Around, Maksim-san, Aria, Miranda, Gracia, Elza, Marina-san… as logistic support, Novem, Eva, Clara and Baldoir were stationed in the back. After the attack, Novem’s group was to counteract magic, and to provide ranged support.
Before the hurriedly constructed gate, we waited for the moment we were fully prepared to attack. Maksim-san rode his horse to my side.
“Lyle-dono, today I’ve come with a personal request.”
“Couldn’t you have said it at the meeting?”
Maksim-san’s face was serious. And he spoke plainly.
“In the past, I had a rival with whom I competed in skill. I fought him countless times, and I’ve more losses to count than wins. He wore black armor over his body, and his skill with a spear on horseback was splendid. That unity of rider and horse type deal. There’s a man who’s killed my friend, and has taken his armor for his own.”
I looked forward.
“I’ve heard. Breid Vamper… an acquaintance of mine. A bit, no… he had a considerably strong lust for status.”
Maksim-san fiddled with the positioning of his forehead protector.
“Could you concede him to me? Of course, I don’t mind if that’s after you determining it’s possible for me. If I cannot accomplish it, I can only give up.”
The knights right in front of the gate fired their magic at once to blow enemy soldiers away. The impact rang out all the way here, and I could see a dust cloud rising on the other side.
The sound of guns and arrows wouldn’t end as the flags waved violently.
“Based on the situation.”
As the gate opened, we held up our weapons for our assault. Gripping the Jewel, I imagined the galient blade in my mind. The silver ornaments surrounding it melted down, swelling until they took the shape of a sword in my right hand. It was an ominous blade, but it had lost a bit of its sinisterness. There were slender lines running across the metal, many thorns down it that made me feel I’d prick my finger on them.
“Lyle-dono, that sword it…?”
“… A weapon suited to this situation. Well then, let’s be off. Attack!!”
As I held up the silver sword, May raced off. We crossed the gate faster than anybody, to find soldiers who wouldn’t stop their assault despite the wounds on their body leaping out of the dust. They stuck out their spears, and leapt towards me.
“You’re in the way.”
As I swing the galient blade so it wouldn’t hit May’s neck, with the edge connected by thin blue veins, the sword separated and cut at the surrounding enemies.
Its form slicing as if it had a will of its own looked as if the sword was alive. As I clenched the hilt, I could almost hear a voice.
『Next. The next one! Let me cut more! Let me kill more!』
Next I tried thrusting it straight; the sword’s point proceeded in a straight line towards the group of knights in front of us, impaling three. Going right into swinging it to the side, the blade turned, skewered knights and all, to lop off the heads of their soldiers.
This blade that could cut down many in a single swing truly was a weapon suited to this situation.
“May… could you position us so we won’t drag any allies in?”
“Leave it to me!”
May raced off, discharging electricity around. That electric charge clad the sword, and when I swung it, those sent flying by May’s charge were cut down, and many were rendered immobile by a mere graze.
And when May took to the sky, I leapt down, and tried extending it to its maximum range.
Every time it grew, the metal sword portions increased in number, as it swung its rage screaming it wouldn’t let a single one get away. It sliced regardless of armor, flesh and bone.
The blood dancing through the air was an impossible sight, even on the battlefield. In that one swing, just how many people had died? Just how many had I killed?
Those thoughts floated through my mind, yet still my body swung the galient blade. It felt as if something was possessing me.
One who luckily escaped with only an arm lost, laughed as he used his spear in place of a cane to stand. Behind him, the next wave of soldiers were ready with their pikes.
“They just keep on coming.
Lightning rained down from the sky. The lightning that fell around was discharged by May, it seems. Even so, the soldiers set aim on her with their bows, while the ones with spear and sword headed for me. Trampling over their allies’ corpses, without even feeling a hint of fear.
“… Sorry, but I’ve no mind to apologize. Hate me all you want.”
When I swung the sword, a large number of people were cut up once more. I swung it for it to spin around me, and once I pulled in the expanded sword by its blue threads to return it to its original form, those unmoving soldiers fell to the dirt again.
At that moment, mounted knights trampled over the soldiers.
“You’re in the way. Move!”
Full plate armor. And the large war hammer in his hand might have been his prided weapon. Taking a large stance with it, he tried swinging it down on me.
From the Jewel, I heard the Seventh’s voice.
『He’s using such a large weapon, controlling his horse with his lower body alone. As a knight, he’s trained considerably.』
I’m sure he was he was a skilled knight. But…
“You’re the one in the way.”
The sword took distance from me as it swung it downwards, its snake-like expanse bisecting the foe horse and all. There, the knights flooding in from all around attacked at me with their spears.
As I held the sword to my side and waited for it to retract…
The heads of two knights fell. It had taken their necks on its way back.
“… It really is reliable on the battlefield. But like the first’s weapon, it sure does use up my Mana.”
It expended it. But it supplemented its use by supplying itself from the enemies it cut down. This ability…
“It’s Milleia-san. She’s as ill-natured as ever.”
… It was reliable, but for some reason, Milleia-san’s boasting face crossed my mind. There, taking along his knights, a black-armored man made his appearance.
“Lyle! How dare you waltz yourself before me!”
When I thought the soldiers had stopped flocking to me, it was Breid who made his entrance. I understood that he hated me, but this was a bit too prudent.
The Third in the Jewel was laughing.
『He’s that kid from the Gryphon Subjugation, right? He’s matured in a bad direction.』
The Seventh inquired.
『By your tone, I’d have to assume you knew he would only get worse, though?』
The Third sigh.
『No, the possibility wasn’t zero, you see. He had the chance to rise up from there, and become someone decent. But now that he’s stepped in front of Lyle, it’s the end. We can only defeat him here.』
The Third’s defeat meant to kill.
“… You’re wearing some nice armor there. How does it feel to be so high and mighty?”
When I tried riling him a bit, it was quite effective. He raised his left hand, before lowering it towards me. The surrounding knights began their charge. I could feel those knights activating a Skill.
“Half-wit! With these numbers before you, charging in alone is what a fool would do! I’ll crush you at once, and display your head to the enemy…”
Seeing him look so certain of his victory, I ended up giving a smile. Because doing that would piss him off more.
“I’m here because I believe I can win. And even now, that feeling hasn’t wavered.”
I swung the galient blade to suck up Mana from the surrounding corpses. Milleia-san said the Jewel was increasing in power, and it seems an influence was coming out in the ancestors’ weapons.
The ominous point of the blade took on the shape of a serpent’s head. That sinister silver snake’s form was as if its body was growing from the hilt…
With a word, it launched out to attack. That large silver blade imitated the moves of a snake, dragging in and killing the approaching knights and soldiers. The blood soaked into its silver body seeped in, decreasing the Mana it took up.
Once there were no longer allies around him, Breid was clearly confused. I had aimed for all but he, and the galient blade had followed my orders.
“W-what. What did you do!!? How cowardly! Like that, you stuck ups hide behind your powerful weapons! Using those of lower birth like me as your stepping stones! When I’ve come all the way… when I’ve come all the way here!!”
As his allied soldiers came in succession, Breid tried to retreat behind them. I thought for a moment he hadn’t been charmed by Celes, but it seems that wasn’t the case. The Seventh sighed.
『Good grief. Using his birth as an excuse, and this is the outcome. He won’t even be good feeding for Lyle.』
I returned the sword to its original form. Seeing that, Breid likely assumed I was tired, as he stopped his retreat.
“R-right! There’s no way you can keep on with attacks like that! It’s my win. After showing so much leisure, you’re going to lose!”
The soldiers advancing around. But I didn’t move the blade.
“That’s wrong. I don’t need to anymore. Did you think me rampaging in the center was because I thought I could take everyone on alone? If chaos broke out here, it would bring an influence to the clashing front lines. And the one who’ll take you on isn’t me.”
Lighting fell around me. May had been plainly continuing her attacks form the sky, and on top of that, fire and ice came from behind me to swallow up knights and soldiers.
And riding a horse, a single knight passed me by. The surrounding sand following behind him as he advanced, the knight trampled down soldiers, as he clad his own horse in an armor of sand.
I could tell the allies coming from behind with the Fifth’s and Sixth’s Skill. An assault with lessened momentum held no meaning against our current state.
Maksim-san who attacked Breid leapt up and lowered his spear to knock Breid off his horse.
“… Stand. Your opponent is me.”
Breid fell to the ground. As he used his sword to stand, his black hair was in a mess. His helmet had fallen off, and looked at Maksim-san, he wrung out his voice to those around.
“W-what are you doing! Kill him!”
He sought help from the surroundings, but even receiving enemy attacks, Maksim-san didn’t falter. Because the swords and spears wouldn’t pass through his armor of sand.
Sand arms protruded from his back, cutting down the surrounding soldiers with their weapons of sand.
“I know I may look like a fighter. But I’m good at magic too.”
While I got the feeling there was something clearly wrong with his use of magic, if the man himself was fine with that, then let’s just call him good at magic.
… Breid looked at the knight before his eyes.
“Now take your stance.”
Maksim was a famed knight of Bahnseim. Upon receiving a single attack form him, Breid understood he couldn’t’ win. He had enough ability to understand that.
As he looked around, he found his allies taking on other enemies, with few left to save him. And those few were cut down before Maksim as well.
“N-not yet. Taking on this many soldiers resolved to die, no matter how hard you lot struggle…”
Right after came a movement at the front. A large golem emerged. It bore the head of a lion, wearing armor with numerous hands extending form its back. Each hand held its own weapon, and it began mowing down its surroundings.
Seeing Breid open his mouth wide, Maksim stuck out his spear. Breid rolled to avoid it, while knights and soldiers flocked around Breid to be cut down.
Maksim looked at Breid’s face.
“Originally, we wanted to avoid a fight like this. I’ve some complaints with showing our trump cards so soon, but more importantly, we’re at war. Our policy was not to take down an army with a small force.”
Breid sat himself up on the ground, as he pushed himself backwards.
“D-don’t screw… you mean to say you were going easy on us!?”
“No, that’s wrong. I’m only saying you weren’t the foe we were saving up our power for. Be proud. You’ve brought out Lyle’s party’s seriousness.”
Hearing those words, Breid slammed the ground. Again, and again.
“Like that, you lot… like that, you look down on everyone below you! Pedigree and talent… are the ones who have it really so special!? Then the one who can win against you can only be someone with nothing like me!”
Breid took out the medicine he’d received from Celes, and touched the bottle to his mouth. Drinking it all down, he looked at Maksim with a smile. Maksim didn’t provide an opening for him to exploit.
“T-that leisure of yours will be your downfall. This 【Demon’s Medicine】 is the completed product of the researchers that flowed in from Zayin! For the sin of angering me, you sh… shal…!”
As Breid’s skin was dyed a shade of purple, his blood vessels grew visible on its surface as he spat up blood. His red blood turned violet, before changing all the way to green, his body gradually growing as the clothing and armor he wore snapped off.
Maksim looked at him as he offered a line.
“So that’s your trump card? But what a pitiful form.”
Seeing the sliver of expression visible through Maksim’s armor of sand, Breid couldn’t tell what shape his own body was taking. Looking at his two hands, they were horribly swelled. They had become purple, their thick blood vessels pulsating.
He looked down on its body, seeing it continue to grow. But that form was…
“What is this… what’s happening to me, Celes-samaaaa!!”
A purple hornworm’s head, as if something had been glued onto a human’s upper body. There stood the body of a monster no one could think of as a success…