Ex Strongest, Dejecting the Demon God
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When Soma, who descended next to Iori, looked around, he let out a small breath. That was because he thought that it was terrible.
He couldn’t tell what kind of scenery originally spread since it was only bare ground there. He knew something was there because he smelled something that was burnt. There was no evidence that something had happened.
Looking at it all the way and the person who created this sight, he obviously let out a sigh. Soma turned toward the person next to him.
“Goodness… as a parent, aren’t you a failure at disciplining?” (Soma)
“I’m not going to argue with that. Aina seems to have grown up pretty well though…” (Iori)
“I have a feeling that she has grown up by taking good examples of what not to do from you.” (Soma)
“Aah… it surely seems so.” (Iori)
“Are you going to acknowledge that?” (Soma)
Then, while talking with Iori in a comical way, he finally got a response from the other side. However, the response wasn’t the one he wanted, but to a nearby stranger.
“I see… It looks like that guy is your friend. I’m not sure how you were able to call for help, but… well, it’s fine. It’s already too late anyway. Rather, as for me, when I think that more people who can witness the power of the Demon God…” (Nicholas)
“Hmm… by the way, Iori. I have one question.” (Soma)
“…What is it that you are worried about?” (Soma)
When the man was talking, he ignored him and asked that question to Iori. The man was surprised for some reason, and Iori replied amusingly.
However, Soma tilted his head because the man’s reaction was truly unexpected to Soma. He didn’t have anything to do with the man. So, there’s nothing to be amused if he ignored the man who was talking on his own.
Anyhow, since he didn’t have to be concerned with the man, he decided to respond to Iori’s answer. In other words, the content of the question.
“Hmm… I’m sure I should have come here after the Demon God or something came out, but… could that be the Demon God?” (Soma)
What Soma pointed at while saying so was an existence next to that man. Although the appearance was someone familiar, the presence that he felt from it were definitely different.
“If it is so… Honestly, I’m disappointed.” (Soma)
“Ooh…? What’s with that?” (Iori)
“Of course, right? I’m concerned with the existence that is called God if it’s at that degree… or rather, it feels overrated.” (Soma)
That was his true impression. He wasn’t trying to mock it. He was truly wondering why that existence was called the Demon God if it was only at that degree.
“Dear me. This is like the other day. Could the name of God be extremely cheap in this world? I thought that it was going to use incredible power, but… it didn’t meet my expectation. I thought this would be some kind of reference, but it doesn’t seem worth seeing in this way.” (Soma)
“Don’t say it like that. Surely, the name God is overused. Even so, don’t you think that it’s too much to say that? I mean, you make me lose my face since it is an enemy that corners me one-sidedly, you know?” (Iori)
“Hmm… for starters, I’m having doubts when you say that, but did it really do that to you? Of course, I’m sure you won’t joke around, but…” (Soma)
“Well…? Surely, I’ve thought that it’s impossible for me to do since earlier, but I can’t say that I’ve been really serious… Even so, are you going to do something seriously?” (Iori)
The words contained no lie. Roughly speaking, lying was meaningless.
However, whether Iori was telling the truth or not, it didn’t really matter.
“Hmm… are you doubting me?” (Iori)
“Well, there’s no mistake I’m doubting you. It’s just that you haven’t said much, you know? For example, even if you’re serious, you can only bring out power that is far from being serious, or something like that.” (Soma)
At that moment, Iori reacted very slightly, but clearly. And the person in question might have been aware of it. Immediately after that, Iori bitterly smiled and shrugged his shoulders.
“Well, I’m not sure if I was doing seriously. It’s because of the limitation of being a Hero. I can use as much power as I want if it’s a crisis of humanity, but this is just my crisis. Even a fragment of power as a Hero can’t be used. But that’s partly because the opponent is the Demon God.” (Iori)
“I see… is that what it is?” (Soma)
If that was the case, Soma could be convinced.
The power that he felt from Iori was obviously stronger than the Demon God. No matter how many times Iori’s attack didn’t connect, Soma didn’t think he would fall behind if the Demon God was only at this degree.
However, if Iori wasn’t able to demonstrate even ten percent of that power, Soma had to agree with it.
By the time Soma was convinced by that truth, another convincing voice was raised. It was from the man who Soma had completely ignored.
The man had watched them for a while, and he noticed that his body was trembling, but for some reason, he suddenly put a smile on his face. With that kind of face, the man began to talk to them.
“I see. I see. There’s such a thing.” (Nicholas)
“Although it feels like you convince yourself on your own, what do you mean by that?” (Soma)
“Either way, I like to hear your answer as well.” (Iori)
“Sure. Even so, that doesn’t mean that you can earn some more time. I already know everything.” (Nicholas)
“Hmm? Earning time, is it? No, I’m not sure what you are talking about…” (Soma)
Of course, Soma truly felt that, but the man seemed to have misunderstood something. As the man smiled, he nodded more and more.
“Yes, yeah, sure. I have to say it. Are you planning to do that? I mean, I was a bit surprised last time, but now, you’re waiting for reinforcements to come, right? You were ignoring me and talking, all that was to earn time for it. Surely, there should have been the chief butler or someone else, but aren’t you waiting for them to come? Dear me, I was almost fooled.” (Nicholas)
“Hmm… Iori, dis he really mean what he said?” (Soma)
“I guess so. If there is something that he can’t understand, he will try to understand it by twisting various facts so that he can understand it. He is that type of person. It brings no harm though, and we don’t have to deal with it, right?” (Iori)
“Isn’t that also a conversation to earn time? Hehe, I’m not going to be fooled anymore. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter. There is no way the Demon God will lose when there is one more person here. It’s just that… I wonder if you are fine with that.” (Nicholas)
“Hmm? What do you mean?” (Soma)
“It’s a simple matter. There seems to be little time left for Steina-sama. So, what I’m trying to say is…is it alright for you to try earning more time?” (Nicholas)
The only things that Soma found out about the man were that he had a false sense of self-confidence and seemed to misunderstand this. Soma didn’t use anything like a bluff.
Nevertheless, those words contained a strange truth, and… apparently it was also true.
“Aah, no. Should I say that you don’t understand the current situation? At any rate, were you planning to earn time from the beginning? That’s cunning of you…” (Nicholas)
“No, do you understand the situation generally? I also heard the matter, you know.” (Soma)
“Yes? What are you trying to say? Aren’t you the same since you are trying to get in the way? I don’t think there are more people, but… forget it. You’re still trying to earn time, huh? I see… you haven’t given up…” (Nicholas)
Soma shrugged his shoulders as the man agreed to himself again. As a matter of fact, that was what he meant.
Iori seemed to be able to use magic of sending voices to someone who was at a distant location. Soma was listening to Iori’s conversation while fulfilling his task on the other side.
It should be said that he was told exactly about the magic, but… it was used shortly after they split up. In other words, Iori had probably expected that at that point of time. Iori was talking with the man in vain in order to get information and let Soma hear them. This was probably done for caution’s sake, but Iori hadn’t changed as he was still a cunning person.
However, if the man understood things on his own, there was no reason to tell him otherwise. Therefore…
“Whatever it is, you don’t have to believe me and it’s all fine, but… don’t regret it, alright? If the situation proceeds as it is, Steina-sama will…” (Nicholas)
“Well, yes. For now, I should do something about this.” (Soma)
“…Haa? What are you–…” (Nicholas)
— The Rules of Swords – God Killer – Dragon Killer – Divine Protection of Dragon God – Absolute Slash – Sword of Ten Thousand Demons – Serene State of Mind – Void Eyes: Demon Slayer Blade Third Style (Revised)
Since Soma had been listening, he was able to guess what kind of situation this was, and it was easy to deal with it if he could see it with his own eyes. In short, Steina’s situation was mostly likely due to the Demon God or something forcibly taking her life force.
If that was the case, it was possible that there was some kind of connection between the two. So, if he severed it, it couldn’t suck the life force any more.
That was all.
“…!? H-how can this be… the connection between Steina-sama and the Demon God is…!? What did you do…!?” (Nicholas)
“Hmm… I see. You understand that much, yes?” (Soma)
From a glance, what Soma had done was merely swing his sword on the spot. He thought that the man wouldn’t notice it or try to understand things on his own again, but… as expected, he seemed to underestimate his opponent.
However, since he had no reason to explain what had happened, he just shrugged back.
“Now… there is one… no, two things I would like to say. The first is to correct you. As I said earlier, I have no intention to earn time. In the first place, I alone is more than enough to deal with it.” (Soma)
“Ugh.. Al-alright… I don’t know what you did, but here is the Demon God. There’s no one who can defeat it… not even a Hero!” (Nicholas)
“Since I haven’t said the second thing, it would be a hassle if you understood on your own, but… well, I actually don’t want to tell this. So, are you ready for it?” (Soma)
Ignoring the man who was agitated somehow, Soma stood next to him and looked at the Demon King who was staring at him. No… perhaps, it was Steina who was behind those eyes.
“Come to think of it, do you remember that I still owe you a favor? Well, even if you don’t remember, there’s no problem because I still remember it. That’s why it’s just right to return the favor. From now on, I will help you. By the way, since I will return the favor arbitrarily, I will not accept complaints due to it.” (Soma)
“…What’s this again!? — Do it, Astraea…!” (Nicholas)
“Well… I have finished saying what I have to say. So, let’s start and end this quickly.” (Soma)
As Soma muttered that, he took a step toward it.
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