Swordsmen’s Struggle to Death
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— Albert ※Left-Wing Unit —
The assault of the left-wing unit was smooth. Keith assisted the breakthrough power of Reus and Julia, who were leading the unit. With the strength and morale of the experienced soldiers, who trained themselves so as not to drag Julia behind, our left-wing unit went deep into the enemy line. However, the number of injured and disposed of was overwhelmingly small. On the contrary, just because we bumped into a single man, our movements were completely stopped. It was a state of turmoil with enemies and allies.
“What’s wrong, what’s wrong!? Are you stuck because of my swords even though you have numbers?” (Hilgan)
In the depths of the enemy line stood a man named Hilgan, whom I heard from Reus. Reus, Julia and Keith descended from their horses and began to fight him, but his ability was far beyond our imagination. Even though the three people representing the left-wing unit were attacking at the same time, the opponent was showing margin to say it lightly.
“Kuh, you’re as annoying as ever!” (Reus)
“Seriously. I don’t want to be told about swords by someone who doesn’t even have the pride of a swordsman!” (Keith)
“You guys, move your hands without talking!” (Julia)
“Hahaha! Small fries are barking, isn’t it!?” (Hilgan)
I heard that Hilgan was a bigger human than Reus, but now, he looked like a monster or a ghost. He was about two times taller than me, and his whole body was bulging to the point of impossibility, and there were six arms. However, since only the head was the same size as us, the whole wasn’t balanced at all. To express it in words, it felt like attaching a person’s head on an ogre with six arms. Even if he was a monster, I didn’t think that there was an existence that looked like him in a book, but I was familiar with this figure. Yes, he was similar to Chimera that led a horde of monsters and attacked my hometown over a year ago, and was defeated by Reus.
According to Shishou, it was Lambda, who made Chimera, and it seemed that it was for experiments that attacked my hometown. So, that Hilgan was likely to be the final form of the Chimera. To support that prediction, that combat ability was extremely high. Not only agility that was commensurate with the huge body, but he also held a huge sword in his hand… No, he was easily wielding six blocks of steel that could be said to be a blunt weapon, and he easily accepted the onslaught of Reus, Keith and Julia.
“How could it be!? How could he repel Julia-sama’s sword that can even slice heavy armor!?” (??)
“He doesn’t yield even with Keith-sama’s power…” (??)
“That’s obvious, isn’t it? Hahaha!” (Hilgan)
The person himself bragged before the battle began. Apparently, the iron lump Hilgan held was made by special ore mined in the Demonic Continent and it was sturdier than the weapons used by Reus and others. Surely, it was hard to believe that, but even if he continued to be attacked by three people, Hilgan’s weapon wasn’t damaged or dented. There was no doubt that his weapon was sturdy. Reus, Keith and Julia had been surpassed by Hilgan who wielded such weapons with his arms.
“Eeii, we can’t just look at them! We’re going in!” (??)
“Hoo! Even if our strength can’t do anything, we can become their shields!” (??)
“Wait a minute! it’s dangerous to intervene unnecessarily!” (Albert)
Julia’s imperial guards, who were dealing with the surrounding monsters, said that Hilgan couldn’t be surpassed by the three. They couldn’t bear to see the situation any longer and tried to join the battle. However, I stopped them vehemently. No matter how strong the opponent was, I was sure that we could defeat him with numbers. But then, it would cost much damage to us, which was bad, since our numbers were already inferior.
Above all, he used swordsmanship that I had never seen before. To begin with, I didn’t know which school used six swords, but he was handling all six swords at the same time, all techniques used weren’t interfering with each other. Therefore, if those people didn’t have the same ability as the three, they would only get in the way. Even if we tried to support with ranged attack and magic spells, there was a possibility that we would accidently shoot them when they were fighting in a close distance. There was nothing much we could do.
“If we intervene unnecessarily, we could interfere with their cooperation. Let’s endure it for now.” (Albert)
What we could do at present was to keep the distance and not get in their way. In the meantime, we should deal with the monsters around them and focus on the battle. Still, there must be a time we could help them. I had to keep my eyes open in preparation for that time.
While swinging my swords to the surrounding monsters, I observed the entire unit. Then, Reus and the two were on the third offensive.
“I’m going! Oraaa!” (Reus)
“Got it! Haaa—!” (Julia)
When the offensive began, two of them devoted themselves to preventing the six swords as much as possible, and the remaining one jumped into the close range and attacked. This time, Reus and Julia handled five out of six swords, and Keith swung his halberd down at Hilgan’s arm while avoiding the last sword. However, the blade stopped when it reached the skin and only a bit of flesh appeared.
“Hehehe, is that how much a beastkin could do? Try harder next time, alright?” (Hilgan)
“Damn it! What’s with this guy’s body!?” (Keith)
“It’s hard, but soft at the same time. How could he have such a body?” (Julia)
Reus and Julia tried to cut his arms in order to reduce the number of attacks, but the result was the same as Keith’s. The three said that they were only slicing his flesh. From my observation of Hilgan’s movement and their assault, Hilgan’s body wasn’t only stiff, but it absorbed impact similar to mollusks. It seemed the impact would be dispersed.
As a matter of course, the wound was closed immediately, and he counterattacked after that. Therefore, it was difficult to aim at the same place repeatedly. Even if they put their life on the line, it would be a fatal blow if they got hit, especially from a guy like Hilgan. In the situation where our main force was struggling, turmoil began to spread in the left-wing unit, but there was no sign that the three gave up.
“But that doesn’t mean we can’t cut it! If it’s not enough, we have to do it harder!” (Reus)
“Yeah! There’s no limit to my sword. I’ll slice him next time!” (Julia)
“Haha, spirit and determination, is it? What simpletons, but that’s not bad!” (Hilgan)
The momentum of the three increased further against the strong man, and the sound of steel clashing began to reverberate faster than before. It would be fatal even if they got hit with only one blow. Still, they continued to attack without hesitation in a storm-like atmosphere where six swords were swung at the same time. Even if the three failed to defend his attack, got injured occasionally and their clothes became tattered, the declining morale of the troops began to increase again due to the appearance of the three.
Then, when Reus’ exchange exceeded thirty… Julia-sama’s movement changed.
“You’re showing too much opening!” (Julia)
“Ooh!? I’m not going to let you…” (Hilgan)
It seemed that Hilgan got used to their movements. Julia-sama handled four swords by herself even though she seemed to be trying to push them. Obviously, Reus and Keith didn’t miss the opening. They stopped forward while evading his attack and they swung their weapon at the same time down to Hilgan’s arm.
They were aiming at one of the right arms. Reus’ sword was swung earlier, and it was stopped by about half of his arm, but then, Keith’s halberd hit from the top of his sword, and they finally succeeded in cutting off one of his arms.
“Alright! One more time!” (Reus)
“Yeah! One more…” (Keith)
“Aah… it’s not a big deal!” (Hilgan)
Although the two were aiming for the next attack, Hilgan’s counterattack was quick. The three were blown away by his swords. They were barely prevented from a direct hit with their weapon. However, that didn’t mean there was no harm as they couldn’t prevent the impact.
In any case, they finally landed a decent blow. Losing one arm reduced the number of attacks. I thought there would be a full-scale counterattack, but Hilgan took an unexpected action.
“Aah, damn it. I’m sick of what he said. Oi, bring that in!” (Hilgan)
When Hilgan seemed to curse someone, a small monster at a distance picked up Hilgan’s cut arm and approached him. I was wondering what he wanted to do. Then, something stretched out from the cut surface on both sides, and it tied together. The arm that should have been cut started to move as if nothing had happened. For some reason, I expected the wound would close immediately. I supposed he had the same generation ability as Lambda.
However, that wasn’t the only surprising point. Hilgan grabbed the monster that brought his arm back roughly, and he started eating from its head. He ate the monster in no time, chewing its meat and bones as if he was eating snacks. The blood spilled all over not just on his body, but also his face.
“Hmmm… Haha… it doesn’t taste good at all. I would like women, they taste better…” (Hilgan)
I could understand that it was exhausting to move such a big body, but I didn’t expect that he would pray on monsters that should be his allies. This man seemed to abandon humanity completely. While continuing that disgusting meal, the other arms were on alert and it wasn’t possible to attack unnecessarily. On the other hand, the three were stuck for another reason. They had been fighting fiercely until now and it was probably fatal to prevent the blow like earlier. In addition to that, Keith and Julia’s weapons were severely damaged. The troops who were carrying supplies at the rear, were moving in a hurry since the two were in a state that they couldn’t stand against Hilgan.
“Bring a replacement, hurry!” (Keith)
“Me as well! How about you, Reus?” (Julia)
“Aah, mine is fine. It can still go on.” (Reus)
Reus’ sword was a custom-made product by a blacksmith who was said to have produced the sword Lior used. It seemed that it could withstand Hilgan’s attack. By the time the spare weapons were brought to the two, Hilgan seemed to have finished having his meal. In the end, they had to start this fight from the first step again. From the current exchange of fight, there were some things revealed.
“Everyone, let’s siege him to keep the monsters away!” (Albert)
“I see! Cut off his supply, right? Let’s do it!” (??)
“Each unit will gather to form a siege! Ready for assault!” (??)
Our advance was completely stopped by the number of monsters, but at the moment, it was worth going forward even if it was somewhat reckless. We gathered the soldiers, who were scattered and fighting against monsters, and we rushed around from the side and tried to completely surround Hilgan…
“Wha!? S-stop it!” (??)
“All units, stop!” (??)
“If you can’t stop, move to the side!” (??)
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A large number of huge tree roots grew from the ground where we were heading, stopping us from circling Hilgan. Although there was no damage to us due to the quick judgment of the unit leaders, it seemed that it would take time to break through here because the root would grow immediately even if we broke it using magic or weapons.
I didn’t think we could do anything to interrupt Hilgan and Reus, so this might be the work of Lambda. After all, that man had the ability related to plants. The roots became like a wall and only blocked our progress, and it didn’t attack our side at all. To be exact, the monsters were attacked and some of them were skewered by the protruding roots.
“I supposed… it doesn’t want us to get in their way, huh?” (??)
“What’s that!? Hey, I don’t understand the enemy’s way of thinking. Why are they doing this half-baked measure?” (??)
“I’m guessing that they want to show us that Hilgan could beat them.” (??)
Lambda’s aim was to destroy the country, but he also said he was reluctant not to destroy them without giving people despair. That was why this might be an action where they were trying to break our spirit by showing the sight of Julia and Reus, who were our main force and symbol, being defeated by Hilgan. If it was about victory, they should have already attacked us or Reus, and not trying to stop there.
“Tsk! Even if you cut it, it will appear again!” (??)
“Don’t force yourself out! It may have the same eyes as the monsters there.” (??)
“Call the magic unit in the rear! Get rid of it all at once with flames!” (??)
They thought they could help Reus and others, but they suddenly stopped. It seemed that it would take a lot of time to break through it, so it seemed that this battle was up to the three. However… the battle that we could see their exchanges, was clearly beginning towards the disadvantage.
“Uhahaha! What’s wrong!? Aren’t you slower than before!?” (Hilgan)
“Guh! You bastard!” (Keith)
“Tsk! Are you jumping the gun?” (Julia))
Hilgan’s attack speed increased, as if he was still hiding his ability, and the three were on the defensive. It seemed that he managed to overcome them because he got used to the opponents’ movement, but when the wounds on his body increased further, he relocated himself to a distance from the three. Meanwhile, the three were exhausted to the extent that they exhaled with their shoulders. On the other hand, Hilgan hadn’t shown that he was tired while the three seemed to approach their limit. In addition, he was able to eat the monsters he called, so we were attacking them with bows and magic. Unfortunately, there were so many of them that we couldn’t defeat them all.
Of course, the three were attacking Hilgan when he was trying to eat monsters. Even so, the attack with the remaining arms was fierce, and it was necessary to be careful not to let their weapons be destroyed. So, their limit was only to cut one or two arms. However, the arms were reconnected when the three were taking distance to get their breath, so the fatigue just accumulated. The patience of the soldiers had reached its limit in this situation, and when others began to put their life on the line, the three took a distance and discussed their next move.
“Huh… huh… oi, what next?” (Keith)
“Hmm… I’m already… I tried it… but…” (Julia)
“Hmm… I have something I want to ask, is that alright?” (Reus)
Even if they were tired, their fighting spirit hadn’t diminished. Reus, who looked at his opponent with burning eyes, said so. What would he want to ask in this situation? Keith had a wondering expression on his face, and only Julia answered immediately with her usual smile.
“Alright. What should I do?” (Julia)
“That’s fast!? You haven’t asked him yet what he’s going to do, you know?” (Keith)
“Surely, it’s frustrating, but we can’t kill him for now. The only one who is most likely to kill him is Reus, the best swordsman after Strongest Sword.” (Julia)
“…I see! There was a technique to slice that huge monster we saw at the frontline base!” (Keith)
A huge monster like a mountain, Gigatien, was sliced into two with ‘Single Strike Ultimate Destruction Sword Style’. He wished he could try that technique sooner, but he didn’t use it because Hilgan’s attack was so fierce that he couldn’t unleash it. Above all, it consumed a considerable amount of mana, and since it was a big blow, it could be avoided. However, that wasn’t the case if they were pushed this far. Keith also nodded as if convinced, and Reus asked them while lowering only the tip of the greatsword he was holding to the ground.
“I think this technique will definitely cut him, but I need to concentrate a bit deeper. So, I need both of you to…” (Reus)
“Aah. I’ll hold him down. I won’t let him touch you.” (Julia)
“Seriously, we can’t defeat him with three of us. Well, we have no choice but to do it!” (Keith)
Reus smiled at his reliable companions. He, then, turned his eyes toward me for a moment, and closed his eyes. Julia and Keith stepped forward to protect Reus. They stood in front of Hilgan, who had already finished his meals.
“What is it? It seems you’re planning something.” (Hilgan)
“Well. We’re just doing our best to kill you.” (Julia)
“The princess and I will be enough to be your opponent. Shouldn’t you eat more monsters then?” (Julia)
“Ohoo, aren’t you quite a bully? If so, after defeating you, I’ll go for that bastard. Do you think I’m going to say that? Are you fools? You guys, aim for that guy!” (Hilgan)
Hilgan didn’t only approach Julia and Keith, he also called the surrounding monsters and ordered them to attack Reus. Perhaps, he noticed that they were trying to gain some time in that conversation. Although he was drunk with his own power, he was calm… No, he might have chosen to ignore it, but there’s no way he was thinking of that!
“Protect Reus!” (Albert)
“Huh!? Anyone is fine, go to Reus-dono!” (??)
“Keep an eye on Julia-sama! If anything happens, just go there immediately!” (??)
I ran the horse while calling to the surroundings and slashed the monsters that were approaching Reus. Fortunately, other troops, who were aware of the situation of the three, followed me immediately, so we were able to make a defensive formation surrounding Reus. There were still monsters breaking through the formation, so I called Reus while wielding my sword near him.
“Don’t worry, Reus. We also… Reus?” (Albert)
Reus was just quietly breathing and focusing himself, even though the surroundings had become a fierce battle by us and monsters. He was quiet like a surface of water without any waves. He was defenseless. Perhaps, he believed that we could protect him in such a situation. That was the meaning of his gaze earlier. While he believed and trusted his companions, Julia and Keith decided to stop Hilgan while we cut down the monsters that were approaching…
“Hahahaha! Resist more! Scream miserably!” (Hilgan)
“Guh!? Haa—!” (Julia)
They continued to prevent Hilgan’s onslaught. He became more suspicious as the two were risking their very life. Without even thinking about the wear and tear of their weapons, they accepted the six swords that were swung like a storm with all their might. Sometimes, they couldn’t prevent it and almost collapsed from their backs, but the two stopped while shouting loudly.
Although Reus was out and their degree of the assault had dropped significantly, the two continued to hold Hilgan with the intention and determination not to let him pass. How many exchanges did they do? Could it be thirty? I felt the time was so slow due to frustration and impatience.
“Gahh! Gu…ohh!?” (Keith)
“Aah, is it over? If so, I’ll save you the trouble of filling it up!” (Hilgan)
It was Keith who fell first. He couldn’t repel the sword swung down from the tapped and he was beaten to the ground from the back. Although he managed to use his halberd as a shield, Keith, who was half buried in the ground, was unable to move quickly. He was forced to continue receiving the battering enemies that were thrown down mercilessly. Julia tried to help Keith, but she too couldn’t avoid Hilgan’s attack and got caught by his sword. She couldn’t disperse the impact and was thrown to the back.
“Did you finally die? Well, I wonder if I can finish this one too.” (Hilgan)
When Keith was completely invisible due to dust and rubble, Hilgan slowly approached Julia while swinging up all his swords.
“Hehehe, after all, only your appearance is the best. How about I forgive you if you beg for your life?” (Hilgan)
It might be hard to reply, Julia only held her sword as an answer. Hilgan, who muttered that she was a foolish woman, tried to swing his sword down to her, but suddenly his movement stopped.
“Hey… wait. I’m going to come out in a few.” (Keith)
Keith, who I had thought had been killed, was attached to Hilgan with a bloody body. He reached out to Hilgan’s arm and decided to use his entire body to lock two of his three left arms.
“Tsk! You just won’t die…!” (Hilgan)
Julia leaped up without missing the opportunity that was created by Keith, but Hilgan intercepted her with the remaining four arms calmly. She was almost full of wounds on her whole body, so she wouldn’t be able to deal with four arms. Still, she didn’t want to take a step back but to resist until the end.
Her imperial guards and soldiers tried to rush to her since she seemed to abandon her life, but it was unlikely they could reach her because they were still blocked by the monsters in the surroundings. There was only one person, me, who had leaped earlier than anyone else.
“Small fry! I’ll kill you all together!” (Hilgan)
When I was approaching Julia, Hilgan noticed and looked at me. It was an unpleasant expression that only thought of people as bugs. I thought I understood it, but when I approached, I felt a terrifying intimidation. Did the three continue to fight head-on against such an opponent? However, I had no intention of losing my spirit even if I lost my strength.
While twisting down the spirit that began to tremble, I aimed for one of the swords that I had decided in advance. Perhaps, with my current ability, rather than preventing his blow, Julia would be wiped out and killed. However, I never came to make a reckless charge. It wasn’t a weak point, but if I hit a certain point that I noticed while observing Hilgan…
“How about this!?” (Albert)
While telling the words of prayer to Julia-sama, I held my sword with both hands. Then, I swung it from the bottom with a momentum that could make a horse run faster, and I managed to hit the tip of Hilgan’s sword. My sword, which I had for a long time, broke easily with that blow. I also couldn’t stand against the impact and fell from the horse. Thanks to that, I was able to escape from other swords, but my horse got killed instead.
What I did until I lost my sword, and the horse was to deflect the trajectory of one of his swords. That was the limit for me now. But for a strong person like Julia-sama, she should understand that slight deviation and make use of it. When I turned my gaze toward her as I was turned upside down due to the fall, there was a figure of her, who escaped from four swords together with fluttering hair.
“…Appreciate it.” (Julia)
And Julia, who took the opening, thrust her sword into Hilgan’s head… no, eye. Her head seemed to be as sturdy as his arms and didn’t pierce deeply, but this was a big blow to the opponent’s eyes. However, although it should have been fatal when his eye was stabbed, it seemed that she wasn’t still familiar with Hilgan. As he couldn’t see and moved his arms haphazardly, he hit Julia and Keith with brute force, and they were off him.
The two were blown away and fell down. They seemed to be barely alive, but they were now out of power since they finally stopped moving. Somehow, the time earned seemed to reach the limit.
“Aah, damn it! You’re annoying until the end!” (Hilgan)
Hilgan, who cursed, pulled out the sword pierced in his face, threw it away from the spot, and slowly approached Julia-sama. In the meantime, the wounds on his eyes were starting to close. It was the time when I was thinking about the last stand when I picked up the sword of the soldier who had fallen.
“What? You aren’t dead yet, huh? This useless small fry–…!?” (Hilgan)
It was only for a moment… Yes, the person, who noticed it, stopped moving as if the time had stopped for a moment. I see. Reus… had made it in time. When I noticed him, not only soldiers, who were protecting him, were away, but also the monsters, and no one was in between Reus and Hilgan as if they were giving him a way. The soldiers wondered why the monsters acted in that way even though they were submissive toward Hilgan, but they could understand when they looked at the current appearance of Reus.
“What… is that?” (??)
“Silver… light?” (??)
The magic which was dense and brilliant in silver was overflowing the whole body of Reus so that even the scenery of the back warped. The silvery mana gave terrible feelings even to the soldiers. Perhaps, the monsters that followed Hilgan’s instruction were scared by him. Perhaps, that didn’t only affect the monsters, but also Hilgan as he ignored Julia, who tried to stab and stop him, and rushed toward Reus. By that time, he might have instinctively thought that Reus was a dangerous opponent, and he should be prioritized.
“You’re not shining brightly, you know! Do you think you can defeat me when I’m the strongest in this condition with that street performance!?” (Hilgan)
Hilgan showed a serious expression for the first time since he came here, but Reus still closed his eyes. Hilgan approached the immovable Reus with just a few steps while holding his swords. Then, he swung his six swords to the limit.
Those were simultaneous attacks from six swords. All swings were unleashed from different angles. The moment Hilgan unleashed his attack, which would be a crushing attack rather than slashing attack… Reus opened his eyes and smiled.
“…That’s great.” (Reus)
“Ugh!? Aargh!?” (Hilgan)
Reus’ opened his eyes at the same time similar to when he transformed into a wolf appearance. Although the body was still humanoid, he gave a feeling of intimidation that was far stronger before he transformed. Its tremendous impact was enough to interrupt Hilgan’s attack. No, instead of being interrupted, Hilgan lined up his swords in front of him while taking a defensive posture of a wall.
I didn’t get why he suddenly changed his posture to defensive, but when I thought about it, he was close to his opponent. The body usually would move instinctively when danger approached. And in front of the wall of swords that didn’t break even when the three of them hit it with all their might, Reus swung down his sword that put all of his strength.
It might have been because of my mind. But I saw it. Behind Reus, who swung down the sword, there was the phantom of Strongest Sword who shouted similar warcry.
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