Chapter 10 : A Partner’s Abilities
“You’re too carefree!”
Currently, they were traversing through savage grass with Yue on his shoulder. These grass grew up to 160 cm and goes up to his shoulders. If Yue was to walk in this, her figure would disappear. Then came the reason for their escaping through this grass.
There were nearly 200 demons chasing them.
After Hajime had finished resupplying, they had advanced 10 levels. Hajime’s equipment and skills were useful in their journey, and Yue’s magic was also a big factor in their progress.
Yue could use any magic and Hajime supported her with his skills. Her barrier and recovery magic was not that great. Since she had “Auto Regen”, she may have thought it was unnecessary. There was no problem because Hajime had his “potion”.
That is how they advanced to this present level. The floor had an appearance of a forest, an extensive forest. Lush and dense trees over 10 m tall lined the forest, and the atmosphere was damp. Good thing it was not hot like the tropical forest level he encountered.
When Hajime and Yue were searching for the stairs to the lower floor, a rumbling of the ground occurred. A demon the reminded Hajime of a huge reptile appeared in front of them. It like a tyrannosaurus rex, but there was a flower on its head. Sharps tusk thirsting for blood surged from the powerful beast, and the sunflower-like flower fluttered on top. It was a surreal experience.
Tyrannosaurus rex gave out a roar and rushed at them.
Hajime calmly took out Donner…before that Yue raised her hand.
A flame appeared at Yue’s hand that spiralled into a spear form. The spear shot pierced through the T-Rex mouth and penetrated out the back. Its life ended as the surroundings melted. A rumble sounded as the T-Rex fell sideways onto the ground, and the flower on its head plopped onto the ground.
Hajime stayed silent for a bit. Yue seemed to be incomparably intense these days. In the beginning, she would devote herself to covering Hajime. On their journey she started to instantly kill any monsters that opposed Hajime. He started to feel depressed at being useless. Is it because he dragged his feet and it was over before he could do anything? His mind was seized with anxiety. If such a thing was true, he was going to have a blow to his confidence.
He address Yue with a forced smile as he kept Donner in his hands.
“Ah, Yue? It is good to be enthusiastic…Recently, I felt like, I haven’t done much…”
Yue turned to look at Hajime, and Hajime could see a slight proud look in her expressionless face.
“…I want to be useful…because I’m your partner…”
Seems, she wasn’t content with just covering Hajime. He did think that since they were going to travel together from now on, as partner they should rely on each other. At that time, Yue collapsed after using up all her magic. Hajime had said it to comfort her after she released…it seems to have remained deep in her mind. She wanted to show her worth as his partner.
“Haha, no. You already helped me so much. Yue’s magic is very powerful, so please take the rear; close combat isn’t your strong suit. The frontlines is for me.”
Yue fell silent at Hajime’s advice. He smiled at Yue, who was trying too much to be helpful to Hajime. To show he didn’t dislike her, he stroke her soft hair. Yue’s expression returned to her usual mood. Hajime couldn’t say anything.
Because he didn’t want to become dependent, he had to be cautious…While he thought that, he inadvertently spoiled himself. Hajime was amazed at that.
In a sense, these two were flirting, but Hajime caught a demon signature on his “Perception”. Approximately 10 of them were coming towards them. From the movements of the leader, it seemed to be a two-tailed wolf? He wanted to check it out, and urged Yue to move. Hajime wanted to move into an advantageous place because of their numbers.
When the beasts were trying to encircle him, Hajime rushed at one of them. Before he could finish a 2 m reptile dropped from the overgrowth in the trees. The reptile’s appearance was similar to a raptor. There was a tulip blooming on its head.
“…Is it fashion?”
Yue muttered unintentionally as she felt unwinded. Hajime turned his eyes towards the demon and murmured an impossible guess.
The raptor and T-rex both had these unknown flowers! It seems to scatter bloodlust as it growls. War preparation. The flower sways and flutters…
Looking at Hajime who was occupied with its flower, the Raptor pounced. There were 20 cm talons attached to its tough legs. A heinous light glint off of those talons. Hajime and Yue stepped back, but parted left and right. Hajime went overhead the raptor with his “Air Walk”. He then shot at the tulip to test it.
All parts of the flower scattered with the sound of gunfire. The raptor seemed to twitch for a moment, it rolled as it failed its landing. It somersaulted into a tree and stopped moving. Silence filled the scene. Yue comes near Hajime as she looks at the raptor and the scattered tulip.
“No, it seems alive…”
Just as Hajime said, the body started to twitch. The raptor got up and looked around. It saw its
fallen tulip on the ground and stomped it. Not giving a care to its enemies.
“Eh, that reaction, What does it mean?”
“…No, its not a schoolchild that put a paper on its back.”
When it was satisfied, it looked to the heavens like it was saying: “Phew, Good job!” A cry was raised. The raptor faced Hajime and was startled.
“Did you notice it? It was in a trance.”
Hajime tsukkomi’d, and Yue looked at it with sympathy. The raptor stiffened for a while. Eventually it took a low posture, fangs exposed and leapt. Hajime shot Donner at the raptor’s open mouth.
The bullet pierced through the raptor mouth then exited out of its back head, and disappeared into the forest behind.
With the momentum of its jump, the raptor slide on the ground. Hajime and Yue looked at the corpse of the raptor without saying anything.
“Really, what on earth?”
“…It was bullied. To be beaten…pity.”
“No, it wasn’t bullying, definitely wasn’t.”
Hajime stopped trying to figure it out because he did not understand how the demons think. They started to move to an advantageous place because the encircling monsters were getting closer.
Countless thick 5m in diameter trees stretched on and on in the new area they were in. Neighboring trees’ branches were intertwined with each other. Hajime used his “Air Walk” and Yue used wind magic to jump overhead the branches. LIke an air corridor. Hajime was going to exterminate the demons by sniping at them from overhead.
Less than 5 minutes later, raptors began to appear under them. Hajime intended to throw an incendiary grenade, however, he froze. Yue had also hardened with her hand ready to unleash her magic. Because…
“Why do all these guys have flowers?”
There were more than 10 raptors and all of them had flowers on their heads. A variety of flowers too.
Hajime’s unintentionally Tsukkomi had attracted the attention of all the raptors. The raptors then took stances to leap into attack. Hajime’s strategy was to stay out of their range then snipe them with Donner and drops a incendiary grenade to start off. Shots are fired in succession, a white flash precedes each death, one by one raptors die with their heads blown off. Yue was using her “Scarlet Spear” to kill the surrounding raptors.
Three seconds later, the incendiary grenade explodes in the middle of the raptor group. Tar blazing at 3000 degree centigrade splattered onto the raptors. Hajime heaves a sigh of relief after he saw that his weapons worked on the monsters of this level. Seems like that scorpion was special.
Less than 10 seconds later, all the enemies had been cleared. However, Hajime had a dull look. Yue noticed this and tilted her head as she walked towards him.
“…Yue, Isn’t it weird?”
“They were too weak.”
Yue took noticed after his words. That was true, the T-rex and raptor was easily exterminated because they made such easy movements and normal attacks. Their unnatural movement was almost mechanical and even their blood lust. After watching the scene where the raptor trampled the flower in anger, he felt that the flowers were not suppose to be on them.
The moment when Hajime was going to tell Yue to advance carefully, his “Perception” caught more approaching demons. A vast amount of demons were gathering from all directions. His “Perception” range was at a 20 m radius, and all the demons he sensed was coming straight for them.
“Yue, this is bad. I’m picking up 30, no, 40 or more monsters coming our way. Someone seems to be ordering them to surround us in all directions.”
“…Do we run?”
“…No, we can’t with this many. Better to exterminate them from on top of the tallest tree.”
“Hn…let’s go oversized.”
“Oh, I’ll bite.”
Moving at high speed, they quickly went to find the highest tree in the area. They destroyed the branches that could help the demons climbed upwards.
Hajime waits calmly while holding Donner. Yue understood and gently grabbed the hem of his clothes. His hand was occupied so he used his body as substitute a hold. Her grip became a little stronger.
Then the first batch arrived. Not just raptors, but also T-rexes. The T-rexes were ramming the tree, and the raptors were using their talons to climb the tree.
Hajime pulled the trigger on Donner. He shot towards the earth to hit the climbing raptors. When Donner’s chambers were exhausted, Hajime exposed the cylinder. With a rotation he uses the ejector rod to clear the chambers and loads the gun positioned within his left armpit. During this 5 seconds. The incendiary grenade he dropped before the shooting, explodes onto the monsters. Flames scatter the area. Donner blazes again after it was reloaded. 15 of the monsters already fell, but that was not enough.
Soon, an additional 30 raptors and 4 T-rexes have gathered under their eyes. They were attempting to smash the tree Hajime was on, or climb up to attack him.
“Not yet…A little more.”
Hajime answered Yue, while he was shooting down at the raptors. She continued to concentrate on her magic barrage, as she believed in him.
Finally, more than 50 monsters gathered below them. This was just a guess because it was hard to distinguish now. He sent a signal to Yue to say that the monsters he sensed with “Perception” were accounted for.
“Okay! “Freezing Hell”!”
When Yue triggered her magic, underneath them an area was frozen and it was spreading. The area was being covered in blue ice. When the ice touched the demons, the ice covered them like a coffin. There was not even a moment to resist. Monsters lost the light in their eyes after they were encased in ice. An area of 50 m square was frozen from the spell. It was worthy of being call “Extermination Magic”.
“Good job. Indeed a “Vampire Princess”.”
Hajime gives Yue praise at the spectacle before them. Just like the spell’s name, it truly looked like a frozen hell in the surrounding area. Yue ran out of magic after using that superlative magic. She gasped for breath. Probably, she is having a case of fatigue.
He sat down beside her and placed a hand on her hips to support her, and presented his nape. To allow her to recover by drinking his blood. Although she does recover from the “potion”, but it takes a long time for a vampire to recover with it. Blood seemed the best.
Yue was embarrassed, inspite of her deadpan look, at Hajime’s praise and just laughed. She blushed as she placed her mouth against his neck.
But Hajime stands up with a grim expression. He was sensing more than 100 demons.
“Yue, there are several times more.”
“If it is this many, there is something going on. We just eliminated them all right now. Yet, another suicide attack…like they were compelled to…that flower…maybe.”
“Yue thinks so too?”
She nodded to affirm his guess.
“…There should be a main body.”
“Seems, that as long as those flowers are on them, they are puppets. We are up against all the monsters on this floor.”
Before Hajime is crushed by the amount, he should look for the main body. Looking for the lower floor would be hard if they didn’t take care of them. Though they could find it along the way.
There wasn’t time to let Yue suck his blood, so he tried to pass her the sacred water. however, Yue refused it. She stretched both her hands out towards the confused Hajime and says…
“How old are you? Are you trying to suck my blood while we move?”
Hajime was correct. Yue nodded her head to answer him. Magical power recovery was slow for Yue with the sacred water, and they should keep a contingency plan for recovery. When he is desperately busying himself, he eventually feels a few resistance. But, necessity knows no laws.
He consented to carrying her…Because it would get in the way. He gave her a piggyback ride, as he started his search for the main body.
And this is how we end up with the current situation.
They were being chased by close to 200 demons. The thicket was troublesome. Yue had already finished her meal but she didn’t get off his back.
From the demons behind.
Monsters approach them while making that noise. Raptors travels side by side while hiding in the tall grass, and pouncing from all directions. Hajime ran towards the place he considered most suspicious, while he counterattacked. Yue did not allow the siege to overwhelm them by using her magic.
The two glared at the exit of the forest ahead. On the other side was the wall of the labyrinth. It looked like a cave with crack spreading from the center. Why, was this place the objective? The attacking demons had a constant habit in their movements. Hajime countered while they advanced. Their movements become violent when they attempted to escape in a certain direction. As if, they were trying to lead them away from there. They decided to rush in that direction because the demons were increasing in number and they couldn’t stay in this situation.
Apparently, hiding in the grass had already made it fail. Hajime jumps ahead with “Air Walk” and “Flicker”.
Kapu, Chu [sound of blood sucking]
“Yue-san!? Can you stop the blood sucking that has been going on?”
“Lies! You aren’t exhausted anymore.”
“…Those guys’ flower…I’m also…Ku.”
“What are you groaning unnaturally? Don’t try to shift the blame, Baka! I can’t afford it, hey!”
Inspite of the situation, Yue was obsessed with Hajime’s blood. It was not odd that a former royalty couldn’t control their guts. Although he was playing, he properly countered. Hajime jumped into the cracks, as he took along 200 monsters.
The cave’s cracks were narrow for two average adults standing side by side. Of course, the T-rex couldn’t fit through it, and the raptors could only enter one by one. One of the raptors that entered teared to tear Hajime with its extended claws. Before it could attack, Hajime shot it with Donner. He used his transmutation to block the crack.
“Phew, We’ll be okay for a bit with this.”
“If you feel so, get down.”
Yue reluctantly descends with Hajime’s words. His back seemed to be very comfortable.
“So then, those guys were very desperate. Is this place, bingo? Do not relax your guard.”
Since the entrance was closed with transmutation, the two continued deeper into the cave.
They arrived into a big hall after traveling for a while. Cracks were even continuing into the depths of the halls. Perhaps it was the stairs to the lower level. Hajime feels the area. He did not sense anything but he kept his guard up because of an unpleasant feeling. There were a lot of demons in this dungeon that could hide from his senses.
When they arrived at the center of the room, then it happened. From all direction, an innumerable amount of green ping pong balls few in. Yue and Hajime was instantly back to back, and intercepting the flying balls. Hajime decided to create a stone wall because of the number that exceeded 100. The wall was strong enough to prevent the balls from piercing it. Seems like the balls didn’t have that much power. Yue was able to intercept the balls with her wind magic, with its excellent speed, without a problem.
“Yue, it’s probably an attack from the main body. Do you know where it is?”
Hajime asked her if she knew of its location. Yue did not have a searching skill like “perception”, but as a vampire she had sharper senses than Hajime. However, she didn’t answer his question. Suspicious, Hajime called out to her, but his answer…
Before anyone knew it, her hand faced Hajime. Wind converged onto her hand. Instinct warned violently, and Hajime jumped aside with full power. A blade of strong wind passes the place where Hajime used to be and bisects the cliff in the back.
Hajime wanted to raise his voice at the surprise attack, but he understood when he saw what was on her head. There was a blooming flower on Yue’s head. Did it match Yue? It was a crimson rose that matched her well.
“Shit, was it those green balls!?”
He wanted to beat himself for his carelessness. Hajime continued to avoid the wind attacks from Yue.
Yue broke her deadpan expression for a sorrowful one. When he shot the raptor’s flower, it stomped on the flower. That would mean that the victim’s consciousness is still there while being manipulated. Only deprived the body of its freedom.
But then he already knew of how to free her. Hajime tried to draw the trigger as he aimed at the flower. However, the controller knew of Hajime’s firearm that shot down the previous flower. Yue’s body moved to cover the flower. She was moving around alot that there was a chance the shot would blow her face away. Hajime closed in to cut it, but Yue hit her own head.
“…You got some nerves…”
It was warning Hajime to stay away, Yue would be the target of the magic if he didn’t. Yue surely was almost immortal. However, he couldn’t deny that she might have a spell that could disintegrate her and prevent her regen. Yue would be able to fire it at an instant too. He wanted to avoid the gamble of a suicide attack.
The monster appeared from the dark cracks as it understood Hajime’s hesitation.
A demon that was the mix of a woman and a plant came out. It was similar to a dryad or aruraune in RPGs. The demon appeared before Hajime. There is a legend that dryads brings good luck, if not hostile, and they were beautiful woman. But the one in front of him did not give that impression. Indeed, it looked like a human woman, but it had an ugly face like its inner ugliness was overflowing. It also had countless vines waving around, and it felt creepy. “Her” mouth was laughing and grinning at something.
Hajime pointed his gun at it at once. However, Yue entered his line of fire.
Yue grits her teeth with a mortified expression. Being unable to control herself was probably intolerable. She should still be resisting it desperately. Blood dripped from her lips as she moved her mouth to apologizes. Her sharp fangs were probably the cause. Was she frustrated with herself, or the curse, or both?
The aruraune fires a green ball into Hajime while using Yue as a shield. Hajime brushes it off with Donner. It was destroyed, though not visible, and probably scattered spores around. There was no sign of a flower blooming on Hajime. Laughter stopped coming from the demon and it looked confused. Spores did not seem to work on Hajime.
(Most likely, it is because of all my resistances.)
Just as Hajime guessed, the spores were a kind of neurotoxin. His “Poison Resist” allowed him to resist it. It was sheer luck for Hajime, Yue can’t be blamed for anything. She shouldn’t feel heartbreak.
Realizing that the spores were useless against Hajime, the demon grumply ordered Yue to cast her spell. Again a blade of wind was formed. Hajime thought it wasn’t able to demonstrate the full capability of the victims. The raptors movements were evidence of this.
(That’s a blessing in disguise)
If he tried to avoid the blade of wind, the aruraune would just threaten to hurt Yue. He used “Vajra”, obtained from cyclops, to endure the blades. This skill solidify and expands magic to cover the whole body. A very reliable skill that demonstrates defensive power equivalent to its name. Because he was still inexperienced with it, Hajime could only display 1/10 of its original power. The blades had no power even if it was sharp, so he was able to endure it.
(There is a method to settle this immediately once…afterwards would be scary…or throw an incendiary grenade?)
As Hajime was pondering the situation, Yue raised a sorrowful cry.
“Hajime!…I’ll be fine…just shoot!”
Yue had prepared herself for this. If she couldn’t control herself then she would rather have Hajime shoot her. She put that kind of will into her eyes that watched Hajime.
There was no way he could do that. For sure he would save her. Such a hot line would usually jump out at this scene, to bond with the heroine. The previous Hajime would do it. But the current Hajime would disappoint such expectations.
“Eh, is that okay? That’ll save me.”
Gunfire echoes in the hall. When he heard Yue’s words, he pulled the trigger without hesitation. The hall was filled with a cold air and silence. Rose petals were dancing in the air and fell onto the ground.
Yue was blinking her eyes with surprise. Aruraune was linking its eyes with surprise. To confirm it was gone, Yue placed both her hands on her head. There was blond hair that had frizzled or were torn off. Aruraune also understood the situation. It stared at Hajime with accusing eyes.
“No, don’t make such eyes.”
He discharged his gun with his Tsukkomi. The aruraune’s head exploded into green liquids. It fell down to the ground while convulsing.
“So, Yue, are you fine? No discomfort?”
Hajime confirms Yue’s safety with a laid-back feeling. However, Yue is glaring at Hajime while stroking her head.
“Ah? Well you did say shoot.”
“…You didn’t hesitate…”
“That, I finally decided to shoot. I had confidence in my aim. As expected, Yue was to stomach it without any question. From now on I’ll put that into consideration.”
“…My scalp was shaved a little…maybe…”
“Well, if its that much you’ll regen it? No problem.”
Yue started to hit Hajime’s stomach repeatedly with a face that said “That is certainly true, but…” Indeed, she told him to shoot, and she had prepared herself. But Yue is a woman. She had seen some dreams. He should have at least hesitated a little. At such a light response, she wanted to complain.
Hajime did not worry for Yue after he found out that a manipulated Yue wouldn’t be able to use high-level magic. There were few spells that could overcome her immortality. It was unpleasant to shoot without hesitation. Even if it was the biggest taboo to hesitate in combat. He tilted his head in wonder at what she was dissatisfied with. She was losing to such a Hajime, and just turned away from him with a pout.
Hajime sighed inwardly, how was he going to fix the mood. This would be harder than beating the Aruraune.